Culture: Persistence and Evolution
This paper presents evidence on the speed of evolution (or lack thereof) of a wide range of values and beliefs of different generations of European immigrants to the US and interprets the evidence in the light of a simple model of socialization and identity choice. The main result is that persistence differs greatly across cultural attitudes. For instance, some family and moral values, political orientation, deep personal religious values converge very slowly to the prevailing US norm. Others, such as attitudes toward cooperation, children's independence, women's work, and even the frequency of religious practice, converge rather quickly. The results obtained studying higher generation immigrants differ greatly from those found when the analysis is limited to the second generation, as typically done in the literature, and they imply a lesser degree of persistence than previously thought. Finally, we show that persistence is “culture specific” in the sense that the country from which one's ancestors came matters for the pattern of generational convergence.
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This paper was revised on September 21, 2015
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20174
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