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Live together: does culture matter?

Miriam Marcén and Marina Morales

Review of Economics of the Household, 2019, vol. 17, issue 2, No 13, 713 pages

Abstract: Abstract This paper studies the role of culture in determining the decision to live together (as a married or unmarried couple). To examine this issue, we utilize data on first-generation immigrants who arrived in the United States at or before the age of 5. We follow the epidemiological approach, indicating that dissimilarities in the behavior of young-arrival immigrants originating from different countries, who grew up and live in the same country, can be interpreted as evidence of the existence of a cultural effect. Results show a positive and statistically significant relationship between the cultural proxy, that is, the proportion of individuals living together by country of origin, and the immigrant choice of living with a partner. We extend this analysis to an exploration of the formation of same- or different-origin couples, in addition to an examination of the effect of culture on other modes of household arrangement (such as living with an adult child, living with grandparents, same-gender couples, and family size, among others). In all cases, our findings suggest an important role of culture. The results are robust after controlling for several home-country, observable and unobservable characteristics, and to the use of different subsamples. Supplementary analysis shows a range of channels of transmission of culture.

Keywords: Culture; Immigrants; Live together; Marriage; Cohabitation; J12; J15; Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s11150-018-9431-3

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