Riccardo Faini CEIS Seminars

Culture and Legal Status Trade-offs in Marriage Markets
November, 24th 2017 (12:00-13:30)
Room B - 1st floor

Paolo Pinotti (Università Bocconi)

Riccardo Faini CEIS Seminars

joint with Jerome Adda and Giulia Tura

Intermarriages between immigrants and natives are deeply transforming family structures in immigrants’ destination countries. We relate intermarriage formation to cultural distance between spouses and legal status acquisition motives in the context of a marital matching framework. We empirically estimate the effect of legal status acquisition on gains to marriage exploiting registry data on the universe of marriages in Italy and exogenous variation in immigrants’ legal status, as determined by the EU enlargement process. Other things equal, access to legal status in Italy reduces the surplus of intermarriages between Italian males (females) and new EU citizens by 73 percent (90 percent). Building on this evidence, we develop and structurally estimate an equilibrium matching model allowing for trade-offs between legal status, cultural distance, and other spouses’ characteristics. Counterfactual analysis based on the structurally estimated parameters provides important insights on different policies’ effects on intermarriage formation.