DP10032 Migration, Friendship Ties, and Cultural Assimilation

Author(s): Giovanni Facchini, Eleonora Patacchini, Max Steinhardt
Publication Date: June 2014
Keyword(s): Culture, Ethnic minorities, Friendship Formation, Migration
JEL(s): A14, J15, J61
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10032

In this paper we contribute to the analysis of the assimilation process of migrants by analyzing the extent to which friendship with natives can be seen as a measure of cultural assimilation and investigating the formation of social ties in the host country. Using novel information from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we find that migrants with a German friend are more similar to natives than those without a local companion along several important dimensions, including concerns about the economy, interest in politics and broad policy issues like the environment, crime, and xenophobia. When looking at the determinants of friendship acquisition, we find that becoming employed is a significant driver of social network variation. Other factors affecting ties with the native population include the number of years the migrant has spent in the country, the birth of a child, residential mobility and additional education in the host country.