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Collectivism in the labor market: Evidence from second generation immigrants in the United States

Lisa Sofie Höckel
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Lisa Sofie Hoeckel

Journal of Comparative Economics, 2018, vol. 46, issue 4, 1347-1369

Abstract: This study investigates the role of collectivism on labor market outcomes in an individualist country. We explore collectivism as an intergenerationally transmitted cultural value and analyze its explanatory power for the economic outcome of 21,000 male homogamous second generation immigrants in the US. Our collectivism proxy is derived from the country of ancestry’s historical disease environment because collectivistic values have been particularly advantageous in countries with a greater prevalence of disease-causing pathogens. Employing this new collectivism proxy that identifies collectivism more precisely than previously used cultural proxies, we find that higher scores of collectivism are associated with higher labor force participation and income earned in the US. The results on income are channeled through the number of hours worked and self-selection into jobs that require collectivistic traits. By analyzing the labor market performance of second generation immigrants, we are the first to show an occupational selection along cultural skills implying that second generation immigrants sort into occupations that demand skills on which they have a “cultural comparative advantage”.

Keywords: Collectivism; Cultural values; Labor force participation; Migration; Occupational choice (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J15 J24 O15 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2018.06.004

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