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Migrants` Acquisition of Cultural Skills and Selective Immigration Policies

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  • Moritz Bonn

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Abstract

Based on the requirement of OECD countries to permit substantial inflows of immigrants to compensate for the effects of the demographic change, this paper explores the incentives of heterogeneous migrants to acquire host country specific cultural skills to improve their labor market outcomes. The theoretical results predict that the migrants` ambition in achieving such skills is increased if the scope of their respective cultural group is small, social permeability of migrants in the native society is large and individual integration costs are low. Based on these results, I study whether cultural heterogeneity among the migrant population is welfare enhancing for the native population. I find that as long as migrants do not differ too much with regard to their costs of learning the native culture, cultural heterogeneity is beneficial for the host economy. The model provides an explanation for the shift in the immigration policies of the traditional host countries throughout the twentieth century as well as the current immigration policies in the EU member states.

Suggested Citation

  • Moritz Bonn, 2012. "Migrants` Acquisition of Cultural Skills and Selective Immigration Policies," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 157-12, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
  • Handle: RePEc:sie:siegen:157-12
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    File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-siegen.de/vwl/repec/sie/papers/157-12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-288, April.
    2. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-345, May.
    3. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Language skills and earnings among legalized aliens," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(1), pages 63-89.
    4. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2008. "Global Migration and the World Economy: Two Centuries of Policy and Performance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582775, January.
    5. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigration; Cultural Interaction; Political Economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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