The Economics of Cultural Diversity
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The Economics of Cultural Diversity

Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Jessie Bakens

The populations of many countries in the world are becoming more culturally diverse. This spurs a growing need for an informed debate on the socio-economic implications of cultural diversity. This book offers a solid statistical and econometric perspective on this topical subject by bringing together studies from different countries in Europe and North America. The research in this volume sheds light on several consequences of cultural diversity, including positive impacts on innovation, growth and entrepreneurship, with contributions highlighting how there can be negative social effects on communities. Throughout the volume, it is evident that the effects of cultural diversity on socio-economic outcomes depend largely on the characteristics of local economies, populations and communities.
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Chapter 3: Ethnic goods and immigrant assimilation

Ilhom Abdulloev, Gil S. Epstein and Ira N. Gang


What are the consequences of immigrants’ expressions of their links toward their home cultures on their assimilation? We posit the existence of two types of ethnic/immigrant goods – one directly impacts their income and a second doesn’t. Certain ethnic goods isolate immigrants from the host population – dressing and eating differently, holding on to traditions interfering with daily working life such as not attending business meetings because the food doesn’t adhere to religious standards, a requirement to pray, and so on – and could lead to active discrimination, harassment or missed work opportunities. Other ethnic goods have a more silent, public goods aspect, not giving rise to income loss. These include donations to schools, religious institutes or houses of worship, helping the needy, investment in relations between the home and host country, and remittances to family and others in the home country. In addition to affecting income, while both types of ethnic goods can slow assimilation to host country behavior, they do so at very different rates, with the isolating goods reducing assimilation to a much greater extent than the less publicly visible goods.

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