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Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans

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  • Brian Duncan
  • Stephen J. Trejo

Abstract

Using Census and CPS data, we show that U.S.-born Mexican Americans who marry non-Mexicans are substantially more educated and English proficient, on average, than are Mexican Americans who marry co-ethnics (whether they be Mexican Americans or Mexican immigrants). In addition, the non-Mexican spouses of intermarried Mexican Americans possess relatively high levels of schooling and English proficiency, compared to the spouses of endogamously married Mexican Americans. The human capital selectivity of Mexican intermarriage generates corresponding differences in the employment and earnings of Mexican Americans and their spouses. Moreover, the children of intermarried Mexican Americans are much less likely to be identified as Mexican than are the children of endogamous Mexican marriages. These forces combine to produce strong negative correlations between the education, English proficiency, employment, and earnings of Mexican-American parents and the chances that their children retain a Mexican ethnicity. Such findings raise the possibility that selective ethnic %u201Cattrition%u201D might bias observed measures of intergenerational progress for Mexican Americans.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2005. "Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans," NBER Working Papers 11423, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11423
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    11. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Gender and Assimilation Among Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters,in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 57-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Delia Furtado, 2012. "Human Capital And Interethnic Marriage Decisions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 82-93, January.
    2. James P. Smith, 2006. "Immigrants and the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 203-234, April.
    3. Vincenzo Caponi, 2011. "Intergenerational Transmission Of Abilities And Self‐Selection Of Mexican Immigrants," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(2), pages 523-547, May.
    4. Andrén, Daniela, 2010. ""In every rank, or great or small, ’Tis industry supports us all": Romanians and ethnic Hungarians, and their wages, in transition," Working Papers 2010:1, Örebro University, School of Business.
    5. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 869-924, December.
    6. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2010. "Age at Arrival, English Proficiency, and Social Assimilation among US Immigrants," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 165-192, January.
    7. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Gender and Assimilation Among Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters,in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 57-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. James P. Smith, 2006. "Immigrants and the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 203-234, April.
    9. Kimberly Huyser & Arthur Sakamoto & Isao Takei, 2010. "The Persistence of Racial Disadvantage: The Socioeconomic Attainments of Single-Race and Multi-Race Native Americans," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 29(4), pages 541-568, August.
    10. Dang, Trang & Nguyen, Cuong, 2015. "Parents’ inter-ethnic marriage and children’s education and disability: Evidence from Vietnam," MPRA Paper 74144, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Fairlie, Robert W., 2009. "Can the "one-drop rule" tell us anything about racial discrimination? New evidence from the multiple race question on the 2000 Census," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 451-460, August.
    12. Lozano, Fernando A. & Sorensen, Todd A., 2008. "Mexican Immigrants, the Labor Market and the Current Population Survey: Seasonality Effects, Framing Effects, and Sensitivity of Results," IZA Discussion Papers 3301, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2011. "Intermarriage and the Intergenerational Transmission of Ethnic Identity and Human Capital for Mexican Americans," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 195-227.
    14. repec:eee:jhecon:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:1-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:1:p:362-380 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Osea Giuntella, 2016. "Assimilation and Health: Evidence From Linked Birth Records of Second- and Third-Generation Hispanics," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(6), pages 1979-2004, December.
    17. Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel & Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2010. "The Effects of English Proficiency among Childhood Immigrants: Are Hispanics Different?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1007, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    18. Fischer, Stefanie & Stoddard, Christiana, 2013. "The academic achievement of American Indians," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 135-152.
    19. van Ours, J.C. & Veenman, J.M.C., 2008. "How Interethnic Marriages Affect the Educational Attainment of Children : Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Discussion Paper 2008-7, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    20. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2018. "Socioeconomic Integration of U.S. Immigrant Groups over the Long Term: The Second Generation and Beyond," NBER Working Papers 24394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Duncan, Brian & Trejo, Stephen, 2011. "Low-Skilled Immigrants and the U.S. Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 5964, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Nielsen, Helena Skyt & Smith, Nina & Celikaksoy, Aycan, 2007. "The Effect of Marriage on Education of Immigrants: Evidence from a Policy Reform Restricting Spouse Import," IZA Discussion Papers 2899, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    23. van Ours, Jan C & Veenman, Justus, 2008. "How Interethnic Marriages Affect the Educational Attainment of Children; Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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