Location Choice, Labor Market Conditions and Marital Sorting among Immigrants (Job Market Paper)

I analyze the impacts of regional wage variation and the immigrant-native wage gap on the distribution of immigrants across regions and their matching patterns. The structural model estimates suggest: a) strong preferences for similarity in partner’s origin; b) a disadvantage of immigrants compared to natives in terms of wages. Consequently, immigrants face a trade-off between “marry your like” and potential economic gains. Firstly, I show that if labor market conditions were the same across all the regions, households’ economic gains would remain unchanged, and agents would adjust their location choices in such a way that there would be no effect on marriage market outcomes (taste for similarity effect). Secondly, I find that closing the immigrant-native income gap improves the expected economic gain of households with at least one immigrant, decreases the share of single immigrant men (by 9.5 pp), lowers the share of immigrant women married to native (by 7.1 pp), and mildly affects matching patterns by increasing the share of immigrant-immigrant marriages (by 4.2 pp, marriage economic gain effect). Finally, I find that the immigrant distribution is mainly determined by regional wage variation, while the immigrant-native income gap drives marriage patterns.

This research has been financed by the European Research Council (ERC) through Starting Grant no. 804989.


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International Doctorate in Economic Analysis
Facultat d'Economia i Empresa
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Edifici B - Campus de Bellaterra
08193 Bellaterra
Cerdanyola del Vallès
Barcelona (Spain)

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