Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behavior

SOEPpapers 47, 23 S.

Amelie Constant, Klaus F. Zimmermann


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Published in: Journal of the European Economic Association 6 (2008) 2-3, 424-433


The paper advocates for a new measure of the ethnic identity of migrants, models its determinants and explores its explanatory power for various types of their economic performance. The ethnosizer, a measure of the intensity of a person's ethnic identity, is constructed from information on the following elements: language, culture, societal interaction, history of migration, and ethnic self-identification. A two-dimensional concept of the ethnosizer classifies migrants into four states: integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization. The ethnosizer largely depends on pre-migration characteristics. Empirical evidence studying economic behavior like work participation, earnings and housing decisions demonstrates the significant relevance of ethnic identity for economic outcomes.

Topics: Migration

JEL-Classification: F22;J15;J16;Z10
Keywords: Ethnicity, ethnic identity, acculturation, migrant assimilation, migrant integration,work, cultural economics
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