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Achieving the American Dream: Cultural Distance, Cultural Diversity and Economic Performance

Author

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  • Valeria Rueda
  • Guillaume Laval
  • Etienne Patin

Abstract

Abstract: This article explores the role of individual cultural distance on income, using the genetic distance as a proxy for cultural distance. We show that cultural distance has heterogeneous predictive power. In particular, culturally distant individuals living in regions with other individuals from more trusting ancestries or less xenophobic ones are more likely to be economically successful. First generation migrants seem to be less likely to success the more culturally distant they are, but this effect vanishes as time spent in the USA increases. Our research challenges the static view that cultural differences are necessarily an obstacle to economic performance in the long-run. Our interpretation of the results is robust to the use of alternative measures for cultural distance.

Suggested Citation

  • Valeria Rueda & Guillaume Laval & Etienne Patin, 2016. "Achieving the American Dream: Cultural Distance, Cultural Diversity and Economic Performance," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _140, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:esohwp:_140
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    File URL: https://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/2783/140februaryruedaetal.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fenske, James & Kala, Namrata, 2017. "Linguistic Distance and Market Integration in India," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 331, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cultural Distance; Cultural Diversity; Genetics; Historical Persistence; Labor Participation; Social Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • R - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics

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