Cultural Assimilation: Learning and Sorting

  • Stein Monteiro York University
Keywords: Cultural Assimilation; Language Prociency; Pre-immigration Experience; Ethnic Enclaves; Sorting; Exposure


There are larger productivity gains to migrating from a relatively poor country than a richer one. Due to these productivity differences, immigration from a poor source country is larger. Among poor source country immigrants, their exposure to co-ethnics is larger than those from richer source countries. These immigrants are the least likely to learn the local culture and assimilate. The integration of new immigrants into host country culture is determined by the amount of exposure to co-ethnics and the incentives attached to learning. But exposure to co-ethnics and incentives to learn are dependent on the neighbourhood that immigrants choose to locate within. In this paper the exposure channel through which source country richness affects assimilating immigration is modelled and the implications of sorting and learning are derived. The results of the model are tested using data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants in Canada: Waves 1-3.