I'll marry you if you get me a job: Marital assimilation and immigrant employment rates
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to test whether marriage to a native affects the probability that an immigrant will be employed. Design/methodology/approach – Utilizing 2000 US Census data, first the effect of cross-nativity marriages on employment is examined using an ordinary least squares model. To deal with endogeneity concerns, a two-stage least squares model instrument for marriage to a native using local marriage market conditions is then estimated. Findings – Results from an ordinary least squares model controlling for the usual measures of human capital and immigrant assimilation suggest that marriage to a native increases an immigrant's employment probability by approximately four percentage points. When taking into account the endogeneity of the intermarriage decision, marriage to a native increases the probability of employment by about 11 percentage points. Research limitations/implications – Although various mechanisms are discussed through which marriage to a native can increase employment probabilities of immigrants, the authors do not disentangle these mechanisms. This is an area ripe for future research. Originality/value – It is shown that, from a theoretical perspective, marriage to a native has an ambiguous effect on immigrant employment rates. The empirical answer to this question provides insights into the assimilation process, which may prove useful in designing optimal immigration policies.
Employment, Immigration, Mixed marriages, Probability theory
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