Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Assimilating Activities of Immigrants

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Assimilating Activities of Immigrants

Article excerpt

Many studies have been conducted focusing on the results of assimilation by immigrants into a native culture; however, few have examined the activities involved in the process of assimilation. Daniel S. Hamermesh and Stephen J. Trejo use data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to explore the process of assimilation by U.S. immigrants in their working paper titled "How Do Immigrants Spend Time?: The Process of Assimilation" (NBER Working Paper 16430, October 2010).

The researchers began by constructing a model in which they classified certain activities as assimilating activities and others as nonassimilating activities. Assimilating activities are defined as those which advance immigrants' familiarity with and absorption into their new country's culture: for example, learning English and working and shopping outside of one's ethnic community. The researchers classified the ATUS categories of purchasing, education, and market work as assimilating activities. Care for others, eating/drinking, household activities (household production), personal care, other leisure, socializing/television watching, and organizational/civic/religious activities were classified as nonassimilating activities. The researchers viewed performing activities that entail overcoming language barriers and cultural obstacles as fixed costs that lead to an increased level of utility in the future.

Plugging the ATUS data into Hamermesh and Trejo's model generates some interesting results. …

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