Faith and Assimilation: Italian Immigrants in the Us

82 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2021 Last revised: 14 Jul 2021

See all articles by Stefano Gagliarducci

Stefano Gagliarducci

University of Rome, Tor Vergata - Faculty of Economics; Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Marco Tabellini

Harvard Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2021

Abstract

Ethnic religious organizations are often blamed for slowing down immigrants' assimilation in host societies. This paper offers the first systematic evidence on this topic by focusing on Italian Catholic churches in the US between 1890 and 1920, when four million Italians had moved to America, and anti-Catholic sentiments were widespread. Relying on newly collected data on the presence of Italian Catholic churches across counties over time, we implement a difference-in-differences design. We find that Italian churches reduced the social assimilation of Italian immigrants, lowering intermarriage, residential integration, and naturalization rates. We provide evidence that both stronger coordination within the Italian community and negative stereotyping among natives can explain these effects. Yet, Italian churches had ambiguous effects on immigrants' economic outcomes, and increased literacy and ability to speak English among Italian children.

JEL Classification: J15, N31, Z12

Suggested Citation

Gagliarducci, Stefano and Tabellini, Marco, Faith and Assimilation: Italian Immigrants in the Us (February 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15794, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3784033

Stefano Gagliarducci (Contact Author)

University of Rome, Tor Vergata - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Via Columbia n.2
Rome, rome 00100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/stefanogagliarducci/

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ( email )

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Rome, 00187
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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
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Germany

Marco Tabellini

Harvard Business School ( email )

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Boston, MA 02163
United States

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