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Immigrants and Gender Roles: Assimilation vs. Culture

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  • Francine D. Blau

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

  • Francine D. Blau, 2015. "Immigrants and Gender Roles: Assimilation vs. Culture," NBER Working Papers 21756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21756
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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. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    10. Borjas, George J, 1993. "The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 113-135, January.
    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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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Immigrants and Gender Roles: Assimilation vs. Culture
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-02-12 18:25:12

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emma Neuman, 2018. "Source country culture and labor market assimilation of immigrant women in Sweden: evidence from longitudinal data," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 585-627, September.
    2. Dias, Felipe A & Chance, Joseph, 2021. "COVID-19, Public Charge Rules, and Immigrant Employment in the United States," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt37f8w4sf, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    3. Nicola Fuchs‐Schündeln & Paolo Masella & Hannah Paule‐Paludkiewicz, 2020. "Cultural Determinants of Household Saving Behavior," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 52(5), pages 1035-1070, August.
    4. Fausto Galli & Giuseppe Russo, 2019. "Immigration restrictions and second-generation cultural assimilation: theory and quasi-experimental evidence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 23-51, January.
    5. Boelmann, Barbara & Raute, Anna & Schönberg, Uta, 2020. "Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply," IAB Discussion Paper 202030, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    6. Xin Jin & Xu Xu, 2016. "The Autocratic Root of Social Distrust," Working Papers 0516, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
    7. Grossbard, Shoshana & Vernon, Victoria, 2020. "Do Immigrants Pay a Price When Marrying Natives? Lessons from the US Time Use Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 13340, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Barbara Boelmann & Anna Raute & Uta Schönberg, 2020. "Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 2020, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    9. Smolny, Werner & Rieber, Alexander, 2016. "Labour market integration of immigrants - Evidence for the German guest workers," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145629, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Lee, Tae Hoon & Peri, Giovanni & Viarengo, Martina, 2020. "The Gender Aspect of Immigrants' Assimilation in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 13922, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Barbara Boelmann & Anna Raute & Uta Schönberg, 2021. "Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 090, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    12. Xu, Xu & Jin, Xin, 2018. "The autocratic roots of social distrust," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 362-380.

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    More about this item

    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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