International Handbook on the Economics of Migration
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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

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.
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Chapter 15: Interethnic marriages and their economic effects

Delia Furtado and Stephen J. Trejo


Interethnic marriage rates have often been used as a proxy for the extent of assimilation by immigrant groups (Pagnini and Morgan, 1990; Qian and Lichter, 2007).Sometimes referred to as ‘the final stage of assimilation’ (Gordon, 1964), marriages between immigrants and natives simultaneously measure immigrants’ views of the host society and natives’ views of the foreign born. Moreover, interethnic marriages can have direct impacts on the participants, including the children produced by these unions. Immigrants that resemble natives are more likely to intermarry, but in sharing a life with a native, immigrants may become even more similar to natives. Closely related to spouse selection and assimilation is ethnic identity, which itself can have important implications for how researchers measure intergenerational integration. This chapter selectivity surveys recent research on these issues by economists and other social scientists. Section 2 discusses the causes of intermarriage, differentiating between determinants related to direct preferences for ethnic endogamy, indirect preferences, and opportunity structures. Section 3 examines the economic consequences of intermarriage, focusing on the empirical methods used to identify causal effects.

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