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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Original article

Ethnic persistence, assimilation and risk proclivity

Holger Bonin1, Amelie Constant2, Konstantinos Tatsiramos3 and Klaus F Zimmermann4*

Author Affiliations

1 ZEW, University of Kassel and IZA, ZEW, P.O. Box 103443, Mannheim 68034, Germany

2 George Washington University, Temple University, DIW DC and IZA, 1800 K Street NW, Suite 716, Washington DC 20006, USA

3 Department of Economics, University of Leicester and IZA, University of Leicester, University Road, LE1 7RH, Leicester, UK

4 IZA and Bonn University, IZA, P.O. Box 7240, Bonn D-53072, Germany

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IZA Journal of Migration 2012, 1:5  doi:10.1186/2193-9039-1-5

Published: 18 October 2012


This paper investigates whether immigrants adapt to the attitudes of the majority population in the host country by focusing on the effect of ethnic persistence and assimilation on individual risk proclivity. Employing information from a unique representative German survey, we find that adaptation to the host country closes the existing immigrant-native gap in risk proclivity by reducing immigrants’ risk aversion and explains the systematic variation in the observed risk attitudes across immigrants of different origins. Our analysis of the adaptation behavior of immigrants suggests that acquisition of social norms is an essential factor in the formation of individual attitudes.

D1, D81, F22, J15, J16, J31, J62, J82

Risk attitudes; Ethnic persistence; Assimilation; Second generation effects; Gender