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The Citizenship Advantage: Immigrant Socioeconomic Attainment across Generations in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

Peter Catron

No c7k45, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: Scholars who study immigrant economic progress often point to the success of Southern and Eastern Europeans who entered in the early 20th century and draw inferences about whether today’s immigrants will follow a similar trajectory. However, little is known about the mechanisms that allowed for European upward advancement. This article begins to fill this gap by analyzing how naturalization policies influenced economic success of immigrants across generations. Specifically, I create new panel datasets that follow immigrants and their children across complete-count US censuses to understand the economic consequences of citizenship attainment. I find that naturalization raised occupational attainment for the first generation that then allowed children to have greater educational attainment and labor market success. I argue that economic progress was conditioned by political statuses for European-origin groups during the first half of the twentieth century.

Date: 2017-08-10
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DOI: 10.31219/

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