NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Gender and Assimilation Among Mexican Americans

Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn

NBER Working Paper No. 11512
Issued in August 2005
NBER Program(s):   CH   ED   LS

Using 1994-2003 CPS data, we study gender and assimilation of Mexican Americans. Source

country patterns, particularly the more traditional gender division of labor in the family in Mexico,

strongly influence the outcomes and behavior of Mexican immigrants. On arrival in the United

States, immigrant women have a higher incidence of marriage (spouse present), higher fertility, and

much lower labor supply than comparable white natives; wage differences are smaller than labor

supply differences, and smaller than comparable wage gaps for men. Immigrant women's labor

supply assimilates dramatically: the ceteris paribus immigrant shortfall is virtually eliminated after

twenty years. While men experience moderate wage assimilation, evidence is mixed for women.

Rising education in the second generation considerably reduces raw labor supply (especially for

women) and wage gaps with nonhispanic whites. Female immigrants' high marriage rates assimilate

towards comparable natives', but immigrant women and men remain more likely to be married even

after long residence. The remaining ceteris paribus marriage gap is eliminated in the second

generation. Immigrants' higher fertility does not assimilate toward the native level, and, while the

size of the Mexican American- white native fertility differential declines across generations, it is not

eliminated.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11512

Published: Gender and Assimilation Among Mexican Americans , Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn. in Mexican Immigration to the United States, Borjas. 2007

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