Cultural Integration of First- and Second-Generation Immigrants in Europe: Evidence for Social Trust

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Immigration and subsequent integration of newcomers is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. Whilst the public and political debate is heavily centred around cultural integration, scientific contributions made by economists have focussed more on the structural dimensions of integration (e.g., income) and have mostly looked at the United States. This master thesis has aimed to identify the extent to which cultural assimilation occurs in Europe and the influence of various background characteristics on the assimilation pathway of the migrant. Cultural assimilation was operationalised as the diminishing influence of the origin-country context and/or the increasing influence of the destination-country context on a migrant’s personal social trust level. Comparing first and second-generation migrants pointed out that cultural assimilation does occur over time, but that migrants remain influenced by their country of origin. Furthermore, education, employment, religion, and primary language spoken at home all influence the extent to which an immigrant assimilates. Cultural assimilation is thus a lengthy process that can take up to at least the third generation and has vastly different trajectories from individual to individual. Policymakers are strongly recommended to understand and further research this complexity and heterogeneity before constructing (new) integration policies based on assimilation theory.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen