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Out there on your own: Absence of the spouse and migrants' integration outcomes

Poeschel, Friedrich (2020): Out there on your own: Absence of the spouse and migrants' integration outcomes.

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Abstract

In many countries, policies on family reunification of migrants are under review. Rules have become more restrictive in a number of cases, with unknown consequences for integration. This paper investigates quantitatively how absence of the spouse affects migrants' integration outcomes, also in the long term. A theoretical model of migrants' investment behaviour predicts that migrants tend to focus on the short term rather than long-term wage growth, until the spouse arrives and the probability of staying increases. Using the American Community Survey, I estimate the effects from absence of the spouse and delays in the spouse’s arrival. An instrumental variable is used to isolate the causal effect of delays. The results indicate that migrants focus more on work when their spouse is absent and that delays significantly decrease their long-term wages, by around 2% per year of delay.

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