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Identity and Mobility: Historical Fractionalization, Parochial Institutions, and Occupational Choice in the American Midwest

This paper examines the role played by identity, or a sense of belonging to a home community, in determining occupational choice and mobility. The analysis links competition between migrant networks in the Midwest when it was rst developing, and the in-group identity that emerged endogenously to support these networks, to institutional participation and occupational choice today. Individuals born in counties with greater ethnic fractionalization in 1860, where identity was more likely to have emerged, are (i) significantly more likely to participate in institutions such as churches and parochial schools that transmit identity from one generation to the next, and (ii) significantly less likely to select into mobile skilled occupations 150 years later. The effect of historical fractionalization on participation in these socializing institutions actually grows stronger over the course of the twentieth century, emphasizing the idea that small initial differences in identity can have large long-term effects on institutions and economic choices.

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File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/MunshiWilsonIdentityAndMobility.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2010-20.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision: Dec 2010
Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2010-20
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  1. Ghura, Dhaneshwar & Grennes, Thomas J., 1993. "The real exchange rate and macroeconomic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 155-174, October.
  2. Sebastian Edwards, 1995. "Why are Saving Rates so Different Across Countries?: An International Comparative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Orazio P. Attanasio & Lucio Picci & Antonello E. Scorcu, 2000. "Saving, Growth, and Investment: A Macroeconomic Analysis Using a Panel of Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 182-211, May.
  4. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1992. "Saving, Growth and Liquidity Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Hamid Faruqee & Aasim M. Husain, 1995. "Saving Trends in Southeast Asia; A Cross-Country Analysis," IMF Working Papers 95/39, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Oriana Bandiera & Gerard Caprio Jr. & Patrick Honohan & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1998. "Does Financial Reform Raise or Reduce Savings?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 413, Boston College Department of Economics.
  7. Coakley, Jerry & Kulasi, Farida & Smith, Ron, 1998. "The Feldstein-Horioka Puzzle and Capital Mobility: A Review," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(2), pages 169-88, April.
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