Original Paper

Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 507-530

First online:

How do immigrants spend their time? The process of assimilation

  • Daniel S. HamermeshAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of Texas
  • , Stephen J. TrejoAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of Texas Email author 

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Sharp differences in time use by nativity emerge when activities are distinguished by incidence and intensity in recent US data. A model with daily fixed costs for assimilating activities predicts that immigrants are less likely than natives to undertake such activities on a given day; but those who do will spend relatively more time on them. Activities such as purchasing, education, and market work conform to the model. Other results suggest that fixed costs for assimilating activities are higher for immigrants with poor English proficiency or who originate in less developed countries. An analysis of comparable Australian data yields similar results.


Time use Fixed costs Incidence Intensity

JEL Classification

J11 J16