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Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans

57 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2005  

Brian Duncan

University of Colorado at Denver

Stephen J. Trejo

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

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Date Written: June 2005

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.

Keywords: intermarriage, Mexican American, intergenerational progress

JEL Classification: J12, J15, J62

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=741105

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)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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