Edited by Gary P. Freeman and Nikola Mirilovic
Chapter 19: Naturalization and the socio-economic integration of immigrants: a life-course perspective
Is citizenship an important instrument for the economic integration of immigrants into the host society, and if so, why do some immigrants naturalize while others do not? Although research on these questions dates back decades, the literature provides no straightforward answer. While most empirical evidence indeed suggests a positive association between citizenship and labor market integration, not all studies support these findings. For example, Bratsberg et al. (2002), Steinhardt (2012), and Helgertz et al. (2014) found evidence of a positive association between citizenship and labor market integration in the North American and European context. However, Chiswick (1978), Scott (2008) and Bevelander and Veenman (2006) found no such effect, or even a negative relationship. While this empirical incongruence hardly comes as a surprise, given the wide variation in empirical contexts, types of data and methodological designs that characterize studies in this area, much of the literature is preoccupied more with the question of whether there is ‘a’ citizenship premium, instead of the question to whom, and especially under which conditions citizenship matters for immigrants.
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