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Book cover: Research in Labor Economics

Research in Labor Economics

ISSN: 0147-9121
Series editor(s): Professor Solomon Polachek, Dr Konstantinos Tatsiramos

Subject Area: Economics

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Assessing the case for and against dual nationality: A study of Latin Americans' assimilation in the United States


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Title:Assessing the case for and against dual nationality: A study of Latin Americans' assimilation in the United States
Author(s):Francesca Mazzolari
Volume:29 Editor(s): Amelie F. Constant, Konstantinos Tatsiramos, Klaus F. Zimmermann ISBN: 978-1-84950-633-5 eISBN: 978-1-84950-634-2
Citation:Francesca Mazzolari (2009), Assessing the case for and against dual nationality: A study of Latin Americans' assimilation in the United States, in Amelie F. Constant, Konstantinos Tatsiramos, Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.) Ethnicity and Labor Market Outcomes (Research in Labor Economics, Volume 29), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.131-164
DOI:10.1108/S0147-9121(2009)0000029008 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Chapter Item
Abstract:Dual nationality rights have been historically viewed with suspicion in immigrants' receiving countries, on the grounds, among other reasons, that they impede immigrants' assimilation. The debate around dual nationality, however, has taken place largely in the absence of empirical evidence. This paper fills this gap by exploring how recognition of dual nationality rights by sending countries affects assimilation of immigrants already residing in the United States. In the 1990s, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Brazil passed dual citizenship laws granting their expatriates the right to naturalize in the receiving country without losing their nationality of origin. On data from the 1990 and 2000 US censuses, immigrants recently granted dual nationality rights are found to be more likely to naturalize relative to immigrants from other Latin American countries. They also experience employment gains and drops in welfare use, suggesting that dual citizenship rights may promote economic assimilation. The effects are the largest among more educated individuals, who also experience earnings gains and an increased likelihood to be homeowners. These findings are consistent with education being correlated with higher career and income benefits from transnational activities. Finally, when studying the effects of dual citizenship on marriage and fertility, we find a negative impact on the number of young children living in the home, suggesting that also in this respect assimilation to US norms is taking place.

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