IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Place of Cultural Explanations and Historical Specificity in Discussions of Modes of Incorporation and Segmented Assimilation

Listed author(s):
  • Joel Perlmann

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)

Registered author(s):

    This paper serves as an opportunity to pull together some thoughts and questions about modes of incorporation as an explanation for ethnic differences in behavior. Specifically, I ask just what is the status of cultural explanations for ethnic behavior if ethnic behavior is approaches from a modes-of-incorporation perspective. I ask this question both in connection with individduals of the immigrant generation as well as in connection with the second generation; the concern with the second generation leads me to consider the status of cultural explanations for ethnic behavior in connection with the related conception of segmented assimilation. My argument proceeds through four steps. 1) I note that the modes are introduced as a way out of being left with a large ethnic residual (or unexplained difference) from individual-level analysis and as one more way of contradicting the claim that the residual reflects the operation of independent cultural differences among groups. 2) I stress how far we can push the corollary that living in different modes can effect not only the structural opportunities available to a person but also the attitudes, values, and outlooks common in people from different groups. 3) I also stress the possibility that many specifics of an immigrant group's historical experiences are not captures by the modes of incorporation (as would be true of any typology), and that such historical specifics ignore by the typology might matter a great deal. Moreover, such historically specific features may involve cultural characteristics as well as other characteristics, cultural characteristics related not at all or only tangentially to the aspects of experience discussed in the typology of the modes. 4) A big question, from this perspective, then, is: how well do the modes in fact explain the residual ethnic differences unexplained by the individual-level variables? And how do we answer that question empirically?

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9808004.

    in new window

    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: 11 Aug 1998
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9808004
    Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC - PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 24; figures: included
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9808004. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.