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Achieving the American Dream: Cultural Distance, Cultural Diversity and Economic Performance

Valeria Rueda, Guillaume Laval and Etienne Patin

No _140, Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers from University of Oxford, Department of Economics

Abstract: Abstract: This article explores the role of individual cultural distance on income, using the genetic distance as a proxy for cultural distance. We show that cultural distance has heterogeneous predictive power. In particular, culturally distant individuals living in regions with other individuals from more trusting ancestries or less xenophobic ones are more likely to be economically successful. First generation migrants seem to be less likely to success the more culturally distant they are, but this effect vanishes as time spent in the USA increases. Our research challenges the static view that cultural differences are necessarily an obstacle to economic performance in the long-run. Our interpretation of the results is robust to the use of alternative measures for cultural distance.

Keywords: Cultural Distance; Cultural Diversity; Genetics; Historical Persistence; Labor Participation; Social Capital (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J61 N30 O15 R Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-02-22
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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