Discussion paper

DP6466 Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behaviour

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.


Zimmermann, K and A Constant (2007), ‘DP6466 Measuring Ethnic Identity and Its Impact on Economic Behaviour‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 6466. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp6466