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A social proximity explanation of the reluctance to assimilate

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  • Fan, C. Simon
  • Stark, Oded

Abstract

Quite often, migrants appear to exert little effort to absorb the mainstream culture and to learn the language of their host society, even though the economic returns (increased productivity and enhanced earnings) to assimilation are high. We show that when interpersonal comparisons affect individuals’ wellbeing and when a more intensive assimilation results in migrants’ comparing themselves more with the richer natives and less with fellow migrants, then the effort extended to assimilate will be muted.

Suggested Citation

  • Fan, C. Simon & Stark, Oded, 2007. "A social proximity explanation of the reluctance to assimilate," MPRA Paper 30940, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30940
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2008. "Is the Melting Pot Still Hot? Explaining the Resurgence of Immigrant Segregation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 478-497, August.
    2. Christine Eibner & William N. Evans, 2005. "Relative Deprivation, Poor Health Habits, and Mortality," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    3. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    4. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    5. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    6. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
    7. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G & Trejo, Stephen J, 1992. "Assimilation and the Earnings of Young Internal Migrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 170-175, February.
    8. David Austen-Smith & Roland G. Fryer, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of "Acting White"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 551-583.
    9. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-324.
    10. Oded Stark, 1991. "The Migration of Labor," Blackwell Books, Wiley Blackwell, number 1557860300, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stark, Oded & Dorn, Agnieszka, 2013. "Do family ties with those left behind intensify or weaken migrants’ assimilation?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 1-5.
    2. Oded Stark, 2010. "Looking at the Integration of Nations through the Lens of the Merger of Populations: Preliminary Superadditivity and Impossibility Results," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(IV), pages 661-675, December.
    3. Klaus Nowotny, 2011. "Welfare Magnets, Taxation and the Location Decisions of Migrants to the EU," WIFO Working Papers 393, WIFO.
    4. Stark, Oded & Jakubek, Marcin, 2013. "Migration networks as a response to financial constraints: Onset, and endogenous dynamics," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 1-7.
    5. Stark, Oded, 2015. "Comparing the Global and Merged with the Local and Separate: On a Downside to the Integration of Regions and Nations," East Asian Economic Review, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, vol. 19(4), pages 325-355, December.
    6. Walter Hyll, 2018. "Relative concerns at the workplace: on the design of the firm as a social space," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 245-264, April.
    7. Oded Stark & Walter Hyll, 2011. "On the Economic Architecture of the Workplace: Repercussions of Social Comparisons among Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 349-375.
    8. Stark, Oded, 2013. "On the economics of others," University of Tübingen Working Papers in Business and Economics 62, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, School of Business and Economics.
    9. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel & Stephan L. Thomsen, 2013. "Right-Wing Extremism and the Well-Being of Immigrants," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 567-590, November.
    10. Oded Stark & Ewa Zawojska, 2016. "Will a government find it financially easier to neutralize a looming protest if more groups are involved?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 435-450, December.
    11. Stark, Oded & Bielawski, Jakub & Jakubek, Marcin, 2015. "The impact of the assimilation of migrants on the well-being of native inhabitants: A theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 71-78.
    12. Peter Huber & Klaus Nowotny & Julia Bock-Schappelwein, 2010. "Qualification Structure, Over- and Under-qualification of the Foreign Born in Austria and the EU," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 41226, December.
    13. Klaus Nowotny & Robert Hierländer, 2009. "FAMO – Fachkräftemonitoring. Regelmäßige Erhebung des Angebots und des Bedarfs an Fachkräften in der Grenzregion Ostösterreichs mit der Slowakei. FAMO I: Migrations- und Pendelpotentiale in Wien und d," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 37422, December.
    14. Stark, Oded & Fan, C. Simon, 2011. "Migration for degrading work as an escape from humiliation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(3), pages 241-247, March.
    15. Junko Doi & Laixun Zhao, 2012. "Immigration Conflicts," Discussion Paper Series DP2012-29, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, revised Dec 2012.
    16. Klaus Nowotny, 2011. "AFLA – Arbeitskräftemobilität und Fachkräftebedarf nach der Liberalisierung des österreichischen Arbeitsmarktes. Migrations- und Pendelpotentiale nach Ende der Übergangsfristen für die Arbeitskräftefr," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 41563, December.
    17. Julia Gelatt, 2013. "Looking Down or Looking Up: Status and Subjective Well-Being among Asian and Latino Immigrants in the United States," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 39-75, March.
    18. Allan B. I. Bernardo & Mary Angeline A. Daganzo & Anna Carmella G. Ocampo, 2018. "Abusive Supervision and Well-Being of Filipino Migrant Workers in Macau: Consequences for Self-Esteem and Heritage Culture Detachment," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 277-292, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migrants’ behavior; The effort to assimilate; Income gains; Social proximity; Interpersonal comparisons; Deprivation losses;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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