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Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans


Brian Duncan


University of Colorado at Denver

Stephen J. Trejo


University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

June 2005

IZA Discussion Paper No. 1629

Abstract:     
Using Census and CPS data, we show that U.S.-born Mexican Americans who marry non-Mexicans are substantially more educated and English proficient, on average, than are Mexican Americans who marry co-ethnics (whether they be Mexican Americans or Mexican immigrants). In addition, the non-Mexican spouses of intermarried Mexican Americans possess relatively high levels of schooling and English proficiency, compared to the spouses of endogamously married Mexican Americans. The human capital selectivity of Mexican intermarriage generates corresponding differences in the employment and earnings of Mexican Americans and their spouses. Moreover, the children of intermarried Mexican Americans are much less likely to be identified as Mexican than are the children of endogamous Mexican marriages. These forces combine to produce strong negative correlations between the education, English proficiency, employment, and earnings of Mexican-American parents and the chances that their children retain a Mexican ethnicity. Such findings raise the possibility that selective ethnic "attrition" might bias observed measures of intergenerational progress for Mexican Americans.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 57

Keywords: intermarriage, Mexican American, intergenerational progress

JEL Classification: J12, J15, J62

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Date posted: June 11, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Duncan, Brian and Trejo, Stephen J., Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans (June 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1629. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=741105

Contact Information

Brian Duncan
University of Colorado at Denver ( email )
Box 173364
1250 14th Street
Denver, CO 80217
United States
Stephen J. Trejo (Contact Author)
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )
Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8512 (Phone)
512-471-3510 (Fax)
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
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