Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 171–192 | Cite as

The effects of 9/11 on intermarriage between natives and immigrants to the U.S.



The existing literature generally finds a negative impact of the 9/11 tragedy on immigrants’ labor market performance, consistent with increased discrimination in the labor market and stricter immigration policies. In this paper, we examine the impact of this tragic event on a particular measure of immigrants’ social outcomes—marriage with a native or intermarriage. We find that the tragic event actually increases Hispanic immigrants’ probability of being married to a native. We suggest that our results could be explained by that after 9/11, the deteriorated labor market conditions, along with tightened immigration policies, may have led to increased incentives of immigrants to marry natives. This effect is large relative to the potential discrimination effect, if any, that could reduce natives’ willingness to marry an immigrant. We also find that the magnitude of the effect is much smaller in the years immediately following 9/11 and becomes larger over time; and that there exists a large, statistically significant gender difference in the effects of 9/11 on intermarriage outcomes. Finally, we conduct indirect tests of proposed explanations; and our results imply existence of economic gains from intermarriage, and that discrimination may indeed exist.


Marriage Intermarriage Discrimination Immigrants 9/11 

JEL Classification

J12 J14 J15 J61 



The authors would like to thank Shoshana Grossbard (the editor), a knowledgeable and helpful referee, John Hurdelbrink, and session participants at the SEA conference in Atlanta, GA for helpful comments, suggestions, and discussions of this research.


  1. Anderson, R. N., & Saenz, R. (1994). Structural determinants of Mexican American intermarriage, 1975–1980. Social Science Quarterly, 75, 414–430.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, M., & Benjamin, D. (1997). The role of the family in immigrants’ labor-market activity: an evaluation of alternative explanations. American Economic Review, 87, 705–727.Google Scholar
  3. Becker, G. (1993). A treatise on the family, enlarged edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Becker, G. S. (1974). A theory of marriage: Part II. Journal of Political Economy, 82(2), s11–s26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bertrand, M., Duflo, E., & Mullaninathan, S. (2004). How much should we trust differences-in-differences estimates? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119, 249–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cameron, A. C., Gelbach, J. B., & Miller, D. L. (2008). Bootstrap-based improvements for inference with clustered errors. Review of Economics and Statistics, 90, 414–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Celikaksoy, A., Nielsen, H. S., & Verner, M. (2006). Marriage migration, just another case of positive assortative matching? Review of Economics of the Household, 4, 253–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiswick, B. R., & Houseworth, C. A. (2011). Ethnic intermarriage among immigrants: Human capital and assortative mating. Review of Economics of the Household, 9, 149–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fisman, R., Iyengar, S. S., Kamenica, E., & Simonson, I. (2008). Racial preferences in dating. Review of Economic Studies, 75, 117–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fossett, M. A., & Kiecolt, K. J. (1991). A methodological review of the sex ratio: Alternatives for comparative research. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 941–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Furtado, D. (in press). Human capital and interethnic marriage decisions. Economic Inquiry. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-7295.2010.00345.x.
  12. Furtado, D., & Theodoropoulos, N. (2009). I’ll marry you if you get me a job: Marital assimilation and immigrant employment rates. International Journal of Manpower, 30, 116–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Furtado, D., & Theodoropoulos, N. (2010). Why does intermarriage increase immigrant employment? The role of networks. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (Topics), 10, 1–31.Google Scholar
  14. Georgarakos, D., & Tatsiramos, K. (2009). Immigrant self-employment: Does intermarriage matter? Research in Labor Economics, 29, 253–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grossbard, S. A. (1983). A market approach to intermarriage. Technical report, Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry.Google Scholar
  16. Grossbard, S., Gimenez-Nadal, J. I., & Molina, J. A. (2010). Racial discrimination and household chores. IZA discussion papers, 5345.Google Scholar
  17. Grossbard-Shechtman, S. A. (1993). On the economics of marriage. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  18. Grossbard-Shechtman, S. A., & Fu, X. (2002). Women’s labor force participation and status exchange in intermarriage: A model and evidence for Hawaii. Journal of Bio-economics, 4, 241–268.Google Scholar
  19. Henderson, D. J., Polachek, S. W., & Wang, L. (2010). Heterogeneity in schooling rates of return. Unpublished Manuscript.Google Scholar
  20. Kalmijn, M. (1998). Intermarriage and homogamy: Causes, patterns, trends. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 395–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kalmijn, M., & Van Tubergen, F. (2010). A comparative perspective on intermarriage: Explaining differences among national-origin groups in the United States. Demography, 47, 459–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kantarevic, J. (2004). Interethnic marriages and economic assimilation of immigrants. IZA Discussion Papers, 1142.Google Scholar
  23. Kaushal, N., Kaestner, R., & Reimers, C. (2007). Labor market effects of September 11th on Arab and Muslim residents of the United States. Journal of Human Resources, 42, 275–308.Google Scholar
  24. King, M., Ruggles, S., Trent Alexander, J., Flood, S., Genadek, K., Schroeder, M. B., Trampe, B., & Vick, R. (2010). Integrated public use microdata series, current population survey: Version 3.0. [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  25. Lemieux, T., & Card, D. (2001). Education, earnings, and the ‘Canadian G.I. Bill’. Canadian Journal of Economics, 34, 313–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lichter, D. T., Brown, J. B., Qian, Z.-C., & Carmalt, J. (2007). Marital assimilation among hispanics: evidence of declining cultural and economic assimilation? Social Science Quarterly, 88, 745–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lichter, D. T., Mclaughlin, D. K., Kephart, G., & Landry, D. J. (1992). Race and the retreat from marriage: A shortage of marriageable men? American Sociological Review, 57, 781–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mehta, C., Nik, T., & Hincapie, M. (2003). Social Security Administration’s no-match letter program: Implications for immigration enforcement and workers’ rights. Technical report, Center for Urban Economic Development, University of Illinois at Chicago.Google Scholar
  29. Meng, X., & Gregory, R. G. (2005). Intermarriage and the economic assimilation of immigrants. Journal of Labor Economics, 23, 135–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Meng, X., & Meurs, D. (2006). Intermarriage, language, and economic assimilation process: A case study of France. IZA Discussion Paper, 2461.Google Scholar
  31. Orrenius, P. M., & Zavodny, M. (2009). The effects of tougher enforcement on the job prospects of recent latin American immigrants. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 28, 239–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Passel, J. (2006). The size and characteristics of the unauthorized migrant population in the U.S. Pew Hispanic Center Research Report.Google Scholar
  33. Passel, J., & Cohn, D. (2009). A portrait of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Pew Hispanic Center Research Report.Google Scholar
  34. Qian, Z.-C., & Lichter, D. T. (2007). Social boundaries and marital assimilation: Evaluating trends in racial and ethnic intermarriage. American Sociological Review, 72, 68–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Roehling, P. V., Jarivis, L. H., & Swope, H. E. (2005). Variations in negative work-family spillover among white, black, and hispanic American men and women. Journal of Family Issues, 26, 840–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sheridan, M. B. (2002). Records checks displace workers: Social security letters cost immigrants jobs. Washington Post, August 6.Google Scholar
  37. Vaughan, J., & Edwards, J. R. (2009). The 287(g) program: Protecting home towns and homeland. Technical report, center for immigration studies.Google Scholar
  38. Wood, R. G. (1995). Marriage rates and marriageable men: A test of the Wilson hypothesis. Journal of Human Resources, 30, 163–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Massachusetts at DartmouthDartmouthUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations