Intermarriage and Economic Integration in Unites States: A Case of Southeast Asian Women

University essay from Lunds universitet/Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Abstract: The association between income of immigrants and nationality of their spouse has been extensively studied. Marrying to a native spouse is expected to improve the immigrant’s income, but it can also impose an income penalty to immigrants from specific ethnicity and gender. However, this is not always the case, as other research has explored the possibility of females of specific heritage facing a decreased income, despite being married to natives. This thesis investigates how the income of Southeast Asian female immigrants is influenced when marrying with the native U.S. population. Applying OLS estimation to the pooled data retrieved from U.S census 1980, 1990, 2000, 2005 and 2010, the results show that immigrant who married the native (exogamous) earn less income than those who married to their countrymen (endogamous). The impact of marrying the natives on income remains negative regardless of immigrants’ level of education throughout the year of study. Immigrants from Philippines and Thailand demonstrate a strong negative magnitude on their incomes. The thesis suggests that women who hold traditional values are less motivated to participate in the labor force. Thus, female immigrants coming from Southeast Asian countries are integrated into the mainstream society, but their economic assimilation is less pronounced.

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