Cross-Nativity Marriages and Human Capital Levels of Children

Delia Furtado, University of Connecticut

This paper compares the academic outcomes of children with two foreign born parents to those with one foreign born parent while controlling for parental education levels. Using NELS:88 data, I find that children with a foreign born father and a native born mother have worse grades in school than children with same-nativity parents. This relationship remains even after controlling for many characteristics correlated with intermarriage that are known to have negative consequences on children’s academic achievement. This suggests that the reason children with two foreign born parents do better than children with a foreign born father and native born mother lies in the benefits of ethnic networks as opposed to attributes of the marriage itself. Interpreting an immigrant’s marriage to another immigrant as signal of his connection to his ethnic network, I then test various hypotheses regarding the usefulness of different networks for different types of people.

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Presented in Session 164: Achievement and Attainment among Multiracials