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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Elgar original reference

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.

Chapter 18: Immigration–religiosity intersections at the two sides of the Atlantic: Europe and the United States

Teresa García-Muñoz and Shoshana Neuman

Subjects: development studies, migration, economics and finance, international economics, politics and public policy, migration, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


A heated political and intellectual debate is taking place in Europe on the effects of immigration influxes. The debate has focused on the costs and benefits of ethnic/religious diversity, rather than on the economic costs and benefits of immigration (see for further reference Chapters 10 and 14 in this volume). The assumption that motivates the debate is that immigrants’ religious behavior is fundamentally different from that of the native born, in particular if they belong to a denomination that is not one of the country’s major religious denominations. This assumption is supported by studies on the cultural/religious transmission of norms and attitudes. The transmission process takes place mainly during childhood and has two venues: direct transmission – across generations, by parents; and oblique transmission – within generations, by the individual’s community and religious environment (for example, Bar-Elet al., 2012; Bisin and Verdier, 2000,2001; Bisin at al., 2008). It follows that, immigrants who were raised by parents with different norms and within a religious environment that is different from their current place of residence are equipped with different ‘religious capital’, compared with the native population. Religious norms seem to be quite rigid and persistent and, therefore, second-generation immigrants might also exhibit a different religious identity than natives.

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