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Ethnic Spatial Dispersion and Immigrant Identity

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  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.
  • Constant, Amelie
  • Schüller, Simone

Abstract

Ethnic groups tend to agglomerate and assemble, mostly in urban areas. While ethnic clustering is critically debated in societies and the consequences for economic outcomes are under debate in research, the process is not yet well understood. A separate literature has also examined the cultural and ethnic identity of immigrants and how these affect their economic performance and societal integration. However, an unexplored channel connects ethnic clustering with ethnic identity formation. Therefore this paper examines the role of ethnic geographic clustering in the sociocultural integration of immigrants. It employs survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, combined with disaggregated information at a low geographical level from the unexploited German full census of 1970 and 1987. We employ the exogenous placement of immigrants during their recruitment in the 1960s and 1970s and find that local co-ethnic concentration affects immigrants cultural integration. Residential ethnic clustering strengthens immigrants retention of an affiliation with their respective country of origin and weakens identification with the host society. The effects are nonlinear and only become significant at relatively high levels of co-ethnic concentration for the minority identity and at very low levels of local concentration for the majority identity. Our findings are robust to the use of an instrumental variable approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Constant, Amelie & Schüller, Simone, 2014. "Ethnic Spatial Dispersion and Immigrant Identity," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100469, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc14:100469
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gil Epstein & Odelia Heizler, 2014. "Ethnosizing Immigrants: A Theoretical Framework," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1441, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Zsóka Kóczán, 2016. "(Why) are immigrants unhappy?," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, December.
    3. Jain, Apoorva & Peter, Klara Sabirianova, 2017. "Limits to Wage Growth: Understanding the Wage Divergence between Immigrants and Natives," IZA Discussion Papers 10891, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Alberto Alesina & Elie Murard & Hillel Rapoport, 2019. "Immigration and Preferences for Redistribution in Europe," Working Papers 2019-15, CEPII research center.
    5. Bezin, Emeline & Moizeau, Fabien, 2017. "Cultural dynamics, social mobility and urban segregation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 173-187.
    6. Carlos Gomez-Gonzalez & Cornel Nesseler & Helmut M. Dietl, 2021. "Mapping discrimination in Europe through a field experiment in amateur sport," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 8(1), pages 1-8, December.
    7. Simone Schüller, 2016. "Ethnic enclaves and immigrant economic integration," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 287-287, August.
    8. Rainald Borck & Matthias Wrede, 2018. "Spatial and social mobility," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 688-704, September.
    9. Gil Epstein & Odelia Heizler (Cohen), 2015. "Ethnic identity: a theoretical framework," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-11, December.
    10. Chen, Josie I. & Foster, Andrew & Putterman, Louis, 2019. "Identity, trust and altruism: An experiment on preferences and microfinance lending," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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