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Migrants?Acquisition of Cultural Skills and Selective Immigration Policies


  • Moritz Bonn

    () (University of Siegen)


Based on the requirement of OECD countries to permit substantial in?ows of immigrants to compensate for the e¤ects of the demographic change, this paper explores the incentives of heterogeneous migrants to acquire host country speci?c cultural skills to improve their labor market outcomes. The theoretical results predict that the migrants? ambition in achieving such skills is increased if the scope of their respective cultural group is small, social permeability of migrants in the native society is large and individual integration costs are low. Based on these results, I study whether cultural heterogeneity among the migrant population is welfare enhancing for the native population. I ?nd that as long as migrants do not di¤er too much with regard to their costs of learning the native culture, cultural heterogeneity is bene?cial for the host economy. The model provides an explanation for the shift in the immigration policies of the traditional host countries throughout the twentieth century as well as the current immigration policies in the EU member states.

Suggested Citation

  • Moritz Bonn, 2012. "Migrants?Acquisition of Cultural Skills and Selective Immigration Policies," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201247, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201247

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-288, April.
    2. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-345, May.
    3. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Language skills and earnings among legalized aliens," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(1), pages 63-89.
    4. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2008. "Global Migration and the World Economy: Two Centuries of Policy and Performance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582775, January.
    5. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
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    More about this item


    Immigration; Cultural Interaction; Political Economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue


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