Will You Assimilate Me? Spouse Selection and Economic Assimilation among Immigrants in Norway

Ferdinand Mohn, University of Oslo

Based on an eighteen-year panel from extensive longitudinal population data, I employ a staggered fixed effects estimation procedure to analyze the employment, labor earnings and welfare transfer trajectories of immigrants marrying in Norway between 1993 and 2010 (518,632 observations on 43,335 individuals). The results shed light on the long term time-profile of the relationship between marriage and labor market assimilation, and show that conventional fixed effects estimates can be misleading. For both marriage types a substantial growth in labor earnings occurs before marriage, driven largely by access to gainful employment. Post-marriage labor market assimilation is largely steady for the exogamous and in decline among the endogamous. The latter holds particularly for non-western women, indicating a penalty associated with within-group marriage. For men, the analyses indicate that intermarriage may specifically improve the labor market situation of recent migrants from developing countries.

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Presented in Session 49: The Impact of Marriage and Parenthood on Work: An International Perspective