DP6466 Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behaviour

Author(s): Amelie Constant, Klaus F Zimmermann
Publication Date: September 2007
Keyword(s): acculturation, cultural economics, ethnic identity, ethnicity, migrant assimilation, migrant integration, work
JEL(s): F22, J15, J16, Z10
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6466

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 behaviour like work participation, earnings and housing decisions demonstrates the significant relevance of ethnic identity for economic outcomes.