The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics
Elgar original reference
Edited by Gert Tingaard Svendsen and Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen
Chapter 17: Locational Choice, Ethnicity and Assimilation
Gil S. Epstein 17.1 Introduction The locational choice of migrants has an important role in determining the assimilation process into the local population. The social capital of migrants is developed by the ﬁscal and ethnic surroundings in the host country. This is determined by their choice of location, the networks they join and the level of ethnicity they choose. In this chapter we consider the diﬀerent ways migrants choose where they live and analyse its eﬀect on the assimilation process. This assimilation aﬀects their social capital and, in the long run, has an eﬀect on diﬀerent migrants and their families. Migration decisions take into consideration the migrant’s ability to adjust to a new environment: for example, ﬁnding jobs and accommodations and the ability to continue consuming ethnic goods which is a function of the level of the network externality in the destination (see, for example, Epstein, 2002; Bauer et al., 2007). A migrant might decide that others have been making decisions based on better information than he has. That is, the migrant may take the position that so many other people cannot be wrong. If the migrant behaves in this way and discounts his/ her private information he/she may adopt a decision rule that gives rise to herd behavior. Herd behavior and network externalities may have opposite eﬀects (see Epstein, 2002; Bauer et al., 2007). While herd behavior may attract migrants, the network externality does the opposite telling the migrants not to join a...
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