Should Immigrants Culturally Assimilate or Preserve Their Own Culture? Individual Beliefs and the Longevity of National Identity

43 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2017 Last revised: 3 May 2017

See all articles by Peter Grajzl

Peter Grajzl

Washington and Lee University - Department of Economics; CESifo

Jonathan Eastwood

Washington and Lee University

Valentina P. Dimitrova-Grajzl

Virginia Military Institute

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 3, 2017

Abstract

We develop and empirically test a theory concerning individual beliefs about whether immigrants should culturally assimilate into the host society or preserve their own cultural norms. We argue that when national identity is a source of intrinsic utility, the longevity of national identity influences a national identity's perceived resilience to an ostensible immigrant threat and, thus, affects individuals' beliefs about the need for immigrants' cultural assimilation. Empirical evidence based on data from countries of wider Europe supports our theory. An expert survey-based measure of the longevity of national identity, first, exhibits a robustly negative effect on the strength of individual preferences in favor of immigrants' cultural assimilation and, second, is an important contextual moderating variable that shapes the effect of individual-level characteristics on their beliefs. Thus, individual beliefs about the necessity of immigrants' cultural assimilation versus accommodation of cultural diversity reflect a historically-rooted sense of national identity.

Keywords: cultural assimilation, immigrants, individual beliefs, national identity, longevity

JEL Classification: Z13, J18, D72, P51

Suggested Citation

Grajzl, Peter and Eastwood, Jonathan and Dimitrova-Grajzl, Valentina P., Should Immigrants Culturally Assimilate or Preserve Their Own Culture? Individual Beliefs and the Longevity of National Identity (May 3, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2940270 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2940270

Peter Grajzl (Contact Author)

Washington and Lee University - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, VA 24450
United States

HOME PAGE: http://home.wlu.edu/~grajzlp/

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Jonathan Eastwood

Washington and Lee University ( email )

204 W Washington St
Lexington, VA 24450
United States

Valentina P. Dimitrova-Grajzl

Virginia Military Institute ( email )

Department of Economics and Business
Scott Shipp Hall
Lexington, VA 24450
United States

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