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American Economic Review: Vol. 101 No. 3 (May 2011)

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Tracking Intergenerational Progress for Immigrant Groups: The Problem of Ethnic Attrition

Article Citation

Duncan, Brian, and Stephen J. Trejo. 2011. "Tracking Intergenerational Progress for Immigrant Groups: The Problem of Ethnic Attrition." American Economic Review, 101(3): 603-08.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.101.3.603

Abstract

In tracking the later-generation descendants of immigrants, measurement biases can arise from "ethnic attrition" (e.g., US-born individuals who do not self-identify as Mexican despite having ancestors who immigrated from Mexico). We present evidence that such ethnic attrition is sizeable and selective for the third-generation populations of key Hispanic and Asian immigrant groups. In addition, our results suggest that ethnic attrition generates biases that vary across national origin groups in direction as well as magnitude, and that correcting for these biases will raise the socioeconomic standing of the US-born descendants of most Hispanic immigrants relative to their Asian counterparts.

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Authors

Duncan, Brian (U CO, Denver)
Trejo, Stephen J. (U TX)

JEL Classifications

J15: Economics of Minorities and Races; Non-labor Discrimination
J61: Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers


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