Interethnic Marriages and Economic Assimilation of Immigrants

36 Pages Posted: 18 May 2004

See all articles by Jasmin Kantarevic

Jasmin Kantarevic

Ontario Medical Association; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: 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.

Keywords: interethnic marriage, economic assimilation, self-selection

JEL Classification: J61, J12

Suggested Citation

Kantarevic, Jasmin, Interethnic Marriages and Economic Assimilation of Immigrants (May 2004). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1142. Available at SSRN:

Jasmin Kantarevic (Contact Author)

Ontario Medical Association ( email )

525 University Ave., Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2K7

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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