Migration to the US and Marital Mobility
NBER Working Paper No. 19495
We combine survey data on British and German immigrants in the US with data on natives in Britain and Germany to estimate the causal effect of migration on educational mobility through cross-national marriage. To control for selective mating, we instrument educational attainment using government spending on education in the years each person was of school-age. To control for selective migration, we instrument the migration decision using inflows of immigrants to the US during puberty and early adulthood. We find that migration causes women to marry up and men to marry down, in line with cross-country differences in the availability of educated spouses and migrant-native differentials in the timing of marriage and financial maturity. However, the way migrants self-select into migration and marriage dampens down these effects.
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