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Immigrants and Gender Roles: Assimilation vs. Culture

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  • Blau, Francine D.

    () (Cornell University)

Abstract

This paper examines evidence on the role of assimilation versus source country culture in influencing immigrant women's behavior in the United States – looking both over time with immigrants' residence in the United States and across immigrant generations. It focuses particularly on labor supply but, for the second generation, also examines fertility and education. We find considerable evidence that immigrant source country gender roles influence immigrant and second generation women's behavior in the United States. This conclusion is robust to various efforts to rule out the effect of other unobservables and to distinguish the effect of culture from that of social capital. These results support a growing literature that suggests that culture matters for economic behavior. At the same time, the results suggest considerable evidence of assimilation of immigrants. Immigrant women narrow the labor supply gap with native‐born women with time in the United States, and, while our results suggest an important role for intergenerational transmission, they also indicate considerable convergence of immigrants to native levels of schooling, fertility, and labor supply across generations.

Suggested Citation

  • Blau, Francine D., 2015. "Immigrants and Gender Roles: Assimilation vs. Culture," IZA Discussion Papers 9534, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9534
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Francine Blau & Lawrence Kahn & Albert Liu & Kerry Papps, 2013. "The transmission of women’s fertility, human capital, and work orientation across immigrant generations," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 405-435, April.
    2. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2008. "Unequal Pay or Unequal Employment? A Cross-Country Analysis of Gender Gaps," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 621-654, October.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2013. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 469-530.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    5. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 106-144, January.
    6. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    7. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-177, January.
    8. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    9. Borjas, George J, 1993. "The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 113-135, January.
    10. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    11. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-727, September.
    12. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
    13. Francine D Blau & Lawrence M Kahn & Kerry L Papps, 2011. "Gender, Source Country Characteristics, and Labor Market Assimilation among Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 43-58, February.
    14. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2003. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 429-447, March.
    15. repec:hrv:faseco:33077826 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paule-Paludkiewicz, Hannah & Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola & Masella, Paolo, 2016. "Cultural Determinants of Household Saving Behavior," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145854, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Paolo Masella & Hannah Paule-Paludkiewicz & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, 2017. "Cultural Determinants of Household Saving Behavior," 2017 Meeting Papers 1052, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Smolny, Werner & Rieber, Alexander, 2016. "Labour market integration of immigrants - Evidence for the German guest workers," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145629, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Xin Jin & Xu Xu, 2016. "The Autocratic Root of Social Distrust," Working Papers 0516, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; immigration; labor supply; wages; social capital; culture; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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