This paper studies the effect of immigrants’ national identity on integration in an inter-generational context. Economic theory predicts that the origin country identity of immigrants affects their children’s integration through its effects on social network choices and incentives to invest in country-specific human capital. Yet, it is difficult to identify these effects empirically due to potential endogeneity. The empirical analysis of this paper relies on a novel IV strategy inspired by the epidemiological approach, and exploits rich survey data from the U.S. Results show that children whose parents are strongly attached to their origin country have less contact to natives and develop a stronger origin country identity. Consistent with the theoretical argument, they speak English less frequently and more poorly, and perform worse in school compared to peers whose parents are less attached to their origin country. Additional results from the CPS suggest that there exist negative long-term effects on labor market outcomes.
Citizenship and Social Integration (with Christina Gathmann & Nicolas Keller)
We investigate whether a liberal citizenship policy improves the social integration of immigrants in the destination country. The empirical analysis relies on two immigration reforms, which made some arrival and birth cohorts eligible for citizenship earlier than others. We find that the option to naturalize faster has significant effects on fertility, family formation and partner choice. Specifically, faster eligibility delays marriage but has no effect on divorce or cohabitation rates. Female immigrants have lower fertility and postpone their first birth to later ages. The average effects mask substantial heterogeneity across immigrant groups. Immigrants from more traditional cultures have not only higher fertility and marriage rates, but also adapt more slowly to a liberal citizenship policy than the average immigrant.
The Labor Market Assimilation of Immigrants in Germany (with Christina Gathmann)
We use a rich, new data set to analyze the economic assimilation of immigrants in Germany. Previous research on Germany has mostly reported no evidence for assimilation, quite in contrast to findings from more traditional immigration countries. Based on a household survey merged to social security records from 1975 to 2010, we study the speed of assimilation in employment and wages for immigrant men and women. In a second step, we use different methods to account for selection along the employment margin. We find evidence for sizable wage assimilation for immigrant men and women, especially after accounting for the entry of low-wage immigrants into the labor market with time spent in Germany. Finally, we explore potential channels of assimilation like job search and the characteristics of employers. Both job search and firm characteristics turn out to be important channels to account for the catch-up of immigrants to natives.