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Cultural Assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration

Author

Listed:
  • Ran Abramitzky
  • Leah Platt Boustan
  • Katherine Eriksson

Abstract

Using two million census records, we document cultural assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration, a formative period in US history. Immigrants chose less foreign names for children as they spent more time in the US, eventually closing half of the gap with natives. Many immigrants also intermarried and learned English. Name-based assimilation was similar by literacy status, and faster for immigrants who were more culturally distant from natives. Cultural assimilation affected the next generation. Within households, brothers with more foreign names completed fewer years of schooling, faced higher unemployment, earned less and were more likely to marry foreign-born spouses.

Suggested Citation

  • Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2016. "Cultural Assimilation during the Age of Mass Migration," NBER Working Papers 22381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22381
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2012. "Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1832-1856, August.
    2. 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.
    3. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    4. Yann Algan & Clément Malgouyres & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2022. "The Economic Incentives of Cultural Transmission: Spatial Evidence from Naming Patterns Across France," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(642), pages 437-470.
    5. Carneiro, Pedro & Lee, Sokbae & Reis, Hugo, 2020. "Please call me John: Name choice and the assimilation of immigrants in the United States, 1900–1930," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    6. 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.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
    8. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/bakbbitll86c9mofo099uih8m is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2014. "A Nation of Immigrants: Assimilation and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 467-506.
    10. Mahmood Arai & Peter Skogman Thoursie, 2009. "Renouncing Personal Names: An Empirical Examination of Surname Change and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 127-147, January.
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    12. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/h23tra6lt8ora7hjg2kqou65h is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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