Interethnic Marriages and Economic Assimilation of Immigrants
by Jasmin Kantarevic
(May 2004)

This paper examines the relationship between interethnic marriages and economic assimilation among immigrants in the United States. Two competing hypotheses are evaluated: the productivity hypothesis, according to which immigrants married to native-born spouses assimilate faster than comparable immigrants married to foreign-born spouses because spouses play an integral role in the human capital accumulation of their partners; and the selection hypothesis, according to which the relationship between intermarriages and assimilation is spurious because intermarried immigrants are a selected subsample from the population of all married immigrants. These two hypotheses are analyzed within a model in which earnings of immigrants and their interethnic marital status are jointly determined. The empirical evidence favors the selection hypothesis. Non-intermarried immigrants tend to be negatively selected, and the intermarriage premium obtained by the least squares completely vanishes once we account for the selection.
Text: See Discussion Paper No. 1142