Ethnic Attrition and the Observed Health of Later-Generation Mexican Americans

13 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2016

See all articles by Francisca Antman

Francisca Antman

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics

Brian Duncan

University of Colorado at Denver

Stephen J. Trejo

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Numerous studies find that U.S.-born Hispanics differ significantly from non-Hispanic whites on important measures of human capital, including health. Nevertheless, almost all studies rely on subjective measures of ethnic self-identification to identify immigrants' U.S.-born descendants. This can lead to bias due to "ethnic attrition," which occurs whenever a U.S.-born descendant of a Hispanic immigrant fails to self-identify as Hispanic. This paper shows that Mexican American ethnic attritors are generally more likely to display health outcomes closer to those of non-Hispanic whites. This biases conventional estimates of Mexican American health away from suggesting patterns of assimilation and convergence with non-Hispanic whites.

Keywords: ethnic attrition, assimilation, identity

JEL Classification: J15, J12, I14

Suggested Citation

Antman, Francisca and Duncan, Brian and Trejo, Stephen J., Ethnic Attrition and the Observed Health of Later-Generation Mexican Americans. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10062. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2819343

Francisca Antman (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Brian Duncan

University of Colorado at Denver ( email )

Box 173364
1250 14th Street
Denver, CO 80217
United States

Stephen J. Trejo

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Economics ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8512 (Phone)
512-471-3510 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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