Discussion paper

DP14179 Marriage, Fertility, and Cultural Integration in Italy

We study the cultural integration of immigrants, estimating a structural model of marital
matching along ethnic dimensions, exploring in detail the role of fertility, and possibly
divorce in the integration process. We exploit rich administrative demographic data
on the universe of marriages formed in Italy, as well as birth and separation records from
1995 to 2012. We estimate strong preferences of ethnic minorities' towards socialization
of children to their own identity, identifying marital selection and fertility choices
as fundamental socialization mechanisms. The estimated cultural intolerance of Italians
towards immigrant minorities is also substantial. Turning to long-run simulations,
we nd that cultural intolerances, as well as fertility and homogamy rates, slow-down
the cultural integration of some immigrant ethnic minorities, especially Latin America,
East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Nonetheless, 75% of immigrants integrate into
the majoritarian culture over the period of a generation. Interestingly, we show by
counterfactual analysis that a lower cultural intolerance of Italians towards minorities
would lead to slower cultural integration by allowing immigrants a more widespread
use of their own language rather than Italian in heterogamous marriages. Finally, we
quantitatively assess the effects of large future immigration inflows.


Bisin, A and G Tura (2019), ‘DP14179 Marriage, Fertility, and Cultural Integration in Italy‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14179. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14179