Intergenerational transmission of culture among immigrants: Gender gap in education among first and second generations



Abstract. This paper illustrates the intergenerational transmission of the gender gap in education among first and second-generation immigrants. Using the Current Population Survey (1994-2018), we find that the difference in female-male education persists from the home country to the new environment. A one standard deviation increase of the ancestral country’s female-male difference in schooling is associated with 17.2% and 2.5% of a standard deviation increase in the gender gap among first and second generations, respectively. Since gender perspective in education uncovers a new channel for cultural transmission among families, we interpret the findings as evidence of cultural persistence among first generations and partial cultural assimilation of second generations. Moreover, Disaggregation into country-groups reveals different paths for this transmission: descendants of immigrants of lower-income countries show fewer attachments to the gender opinions of their home country. Average local education of natives can facilitate the acculturation process. Immigrants residing in states with higher education reveal a lower tendency to follow their home country attitudes regarding the gender gap.

Keywords. Gender Gap, Immigration, Human Capital, Education, Assimilation.

JEL. J15, J16, Z13, I20.


Gender gap; Immigration; Human capital; Education; Assimilation.

Full Text:


Alesina, A., & Giuliano, P. (2011). Family ties and political participation. Journal of the European Economic Association, 9(5), 817–839. doi. 10.1111/j.1542-4774.2011.01024.x

Alesina, A., Giuliano, P., & Nunn, N. (2013). On the origins of gender roles: Women and the plough. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(2), 469–530. doi. 10.1093/qje/qjt005

Anderson, D.M. (2014). In school and out of trouble? The minimum dropout age and juvenile crime. Review of Economics and Statistics, 96(2), 318–331. doi. 10.1162/REST_a_00360

Angelini, V., Casi, L., & Corazzini, L. (2015). Life satisfaction of immigrants: does cultural assimilation matter? Journal of Population Economics, 28(3), 817–844. doi. 10.1007/s00148-015-0552-1

Angrist, J., Lavy, V., & Schlosser, A. (2010). Multiple experiments for the causal link between the quantity and quality of children. Journal of Labor Economics, 28(4), 773–824. doi. 10.1086/653830

Antecol, H. (2000). An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates. Labour Economics, 7(4), 409–426. doi. 10.1016/S0927-5371(00)00007-5

Bahrs, M., & Schumann, M. (2019). Unlucky to be young? The long-term effects of school starting age on smoking behavior and health. Journal of Population Economics. 33, 555-600. doi. 10.1007/s00148-019-00745-6

Barr, A., & Turner, S. (2015). Out of work and into school: Labor market policies and college enrollment during the Great Recession. Journal of Public Economics, 124, 63–73. doi. 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2014.12.009

Barro, R.J., & Lee, J.-W. (2001). International data on educational attainment: updates and implications. Oxford Economic Papers, 53(3), 541–563. doi. 10.1093/oep/53.3.541

Bisin, A., & Verdier, T. (2000). “Beyond the melting pot”: cultural transmission, marriage, and the evolution of ethnic and religious traits. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(3), 955–988. doi. 10.1162/003355300554953

Black, S.E., Devereux, P.J., & Salvanes, K.G. (2005). Why the apple doesn’t fall far: Understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital. American Economic Review, 95(1), 437–449. doi. 10.1257/0002828053828635

Blau, F.D., & Kahn, L.M. (1997). Swimming upstream: Trends in the gender wage differential in the 1980s. Journal of Labor Economics, 15(1, Part 1), 1–42. doi. 10.1086/209845

Blau, F.D., & Kahn, L.M. (2007). Gender and assimilation among Mexican Americans. Mexican Immigration to the United States, 57–106. [Retrieved from].

Blau, F.D., Kahn, L.M., Liu, A.Y.-H., & Papps, K.L. (2013). The transmission of women’s fertility, human capital, and work orientation across immigrant generations. Journal of Population Economics, 26(2), 405–435. doi. 10.1007/s00148-012-0424-x

Blau, F.D., Kahn, L.M., & Papps, K.L. (2011). Gender, source country characteristics, and labor market assimilation among immigrants. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(1), 43–58. doi. 10.1162/REST_a_00064

Borjas, G.J. (1985). Assimilation, changes in cohort quality, and the earnings of immigrants. Journal of Labor Economics, 3(4), 463–489. doi. 10.1086/298065

Borjas, G.J. (2015). The slowdown in the economic assimilation of immigrants: Aging and cohort effects revisited again. Journal of Human Capital, 9(4), 483–517. doi. 10.1086/676461

Casey, T., & Dustmann, C. (2008). Intergenerational transmission of language capital and economic outcomes. Journal of Human Resources, 43(3), 660–687. doi. 10.3368/jhr.43.3.660

Casey, T., & Dustmann, C. (2010). Immigrants’ identity, economic outcomes and the transmission of identity across generations. The Economic Journal, 120(542), F31-F51. doi. 10.1111/j.1468-0297.2009.02336.x

Chiquiar, D., & Hanson, G.H. (2005). International migration, self-selection, and the distribution of wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States. Journal of Political Economy, 113(2), 239–281. doi. 10.1086/427464

Cobb-Clark, D.A., & Moschion, J. (2017). Gender gaps in early educational achievement. Journal of Population Economics, 30(4), 1093–1134. doi. 10.1007/s00148-017-0638-z

Cornwell, C., Mustard, D.B., & Van Parys, J. (2013). Noncognitive skills and the gender disparities in test scores and teacher assessments: Evidence from primary school. Journal of Human Resources, 48(1), 236–264. doi. 10.3368/jhr.48.1.236

Dayioglu, M., Kirdar, M.G., & Tansel, A. (2009). Impact of sibship size, birth order and sex composition on school enrolment in urban Turkey. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 71(3), 399–426. doi. 10.1111/j.1468-0084.2008.00540.x

Dennison, C.R. (2019). The crime-reducing benefits of a college degree: evidence from a nationally representative U.S. sample. Criminal Justice Studies, 32(4), 297–316. 10.1080/1478601X.2019.1627533

Di Tella, R., Galiant, S., & Schargrodsky, E. (2007). The formation of beliefs: evidence from the allocation of land titles to squatters. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(1), 209–241. doi. 10.1162/qjec.122.1.209

DiMaggio, P., & Mukhtar, T. (2004). Arts participation as cultural capital in the United States, 1982--2002: Signs of decline? Poetics, 32(2), 169–194. doi. 10.1016/j.poetic.2004.02.005

Doepke, M., & Zilibotti, F. (2017). Parenting with style: Altruism and paternalism in intergenerational preference transmission. Econometrica, 85(5), 1331–1371. doi. 10.3982/ECTA14634

Dustmann, C. (1996). The social assimilation of immigrants. Journal of Population Economics, 9(1), 37–54. doi. 10.1007/PL00003825

Dustmann, C., & Fabbri, F. (2003). Language proficiency and labour market performance of immigrants in the UK. The Economic Journal, 113(489), 695–717. doi. 10.1111/1468-0297.t01-1-00151

Dustmann, C., Frattini, T., & Lanzara, G. (2012). Educational achievement of second-generation immigrants: an international comparison. Economic Policy, 27(69), 143–185. doi. 10.1111/j.1468-0327.2011.00275.x

Fernandez, R., & Fogli, A. (2009). Culture: An empirical investigation of beliefs, work, and fertility. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 1(1), 146–177. doi. 10.1257/mac.1.1.146

Fernández, R., & Fogli, A. (2006). Fertility: The role of culture and family experience. Journal of the European Economic Association, 4(2–3), 552–561. doi. 10.1162/jeea.2006.4.2-3.552

Flood, S., King, M., Ruggles, S., Warren, J.R., Rodgers, R., Ruggles, S., & Warren, J.R. (2018). Integrated public use microdata series, current population survey: Version 5.0. [dataset]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. doi. 10.18128/D030.V5.0

Fryer, R.G., & Levitt, S.D. (2010). An empirical analysis of the gender gap in mathematics. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(2), 210–240. doi. 10.1257/app.2.2.210

Giuliano, P. (2007). Living arrangements in western europe: Does cultural origin matter? Journal of the European Economic Association, 5(5), 927–952. doi. 10.1162/JEEA.2007.5.5.927

Giuliano, P., & Spilimbergo, A. (2013). Growing up in a Recession. Review of Economic Studies, 81(2), 787–817. doi. 10.1093/restud/rdt040

Goldin, C. (2014). A grand gender convergence: Its last chapter. The American Economic Review, 104(4), 1091–1119. doi. 10.1257/aer.104.4.1091

Goldin, C., Katz, L.F., & Kuziemko, I. (2006). The homecoming of American college women: The reversal of the college gender gap. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(4), 133. doi. 10.1257/jep.20.4.133

LaLonde, R.J., & Topel, R.H. (1991). Immigrants in the American labor market: Quality, assimilation, and distributional effects. The American Economic Review, 81(2), 297–302.

Lavy, V., & Sand, E. (2015). On the origins of gender human capital gaps: Short and long term consequences of teachers’ stereotypical biases. Journal of Public Economics, 167, 263-279. doi. 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.09.007

Lubotsky, D. (2007). Chutes or ladders? A longitudinal analysis of immigrant earnings. Journal of Political Economy, 115(5), 820–867. doi. 10.1086/522871

Mayer, S.E. (1997). What Money can’t Buy: Family Income and Children’s Life Chances. Harvard University Press.

Noghanibehambari, H. (2020). School finance reform and Juvenile crime. Available at SSRN 3643640. (Unpublished Paper) [Retrieved from].

NoghaniBehambari, H., Noghani, F., & Tavassoli, N. (2020a). Child support enforcement and child mortality. Available at SSRN 3668744. [Retrieved from]

NoghaniBehambari, H., Noghani, F., & Tavassoli, N. (2020b). Early Life Income Shocks and Old-Age Cause-Specific Mortality. Economic Analysis, 53(2), 1–19.

Noghanibehambari, H., Tavassoli, N., & Noghani, F. (2020). Intergenerational transmission of culture among first- and second-generation immigrants: The case of age at first birth and nonmarital childbirth. (Unpublished Paper) [Revrieved from].

Nollenberger, N., Rodriguez-Planas, N., & Sevilla, A. (2016). The math gender gap: The role of culture. The American Economic Review, 106(5), 257–261. doi. 10.1257/aer.p20161121

Ruggles, S., Genadek, K., Goeken, R., Grover, J., & Sobek, M. (2017). Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 7.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. doi. 10.18128/D010.V7.0

Security., D.H. (2018). 2017 Yerabook of Immigration Statistics. US Government Printing Office.

Tomes, N. (1981). The family, inheritance, and the intergenerational transmission of inequality. Journal of Political Economy, 89(5), 928–958. doi. 10.1086/261014

Trevelyan, E., Gambino, C., Gryn, T., Larsen, L., Acosta, Y., Grieco, E., Harris, D., & Walters, N. (2016). Characteristics of the US population by generational status: 2013. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. [Retrieved from].



  • There are currently no refbacks.


Journal of Economics and Political Economy - J. Econ. Pol. Econ. - JEPE -

ISSN: 2148-8347

Editor:   Secretarial:   Istanbul - Turkey.

Copyright © KSP Library