Ran Abramitzky, Leah Boustan, 04 July 2016

Attitudes toward immigration policy are driven by fears about cultural diversity, not just individual economic circumstances. This column looks back at the Age of Mass Migration (1850-1913), when 30 million migrants moved from Europe to the US, to examine whether such fears are justified. US Census data from 1920 reveals that recent immigrants gave their children more foreign names than long-standing immigrants, which suggests that cultural assimilation did take place over time. This assimilation had economic benefits for children, both in school and in the labour market.

Eric Gould, Esteban Klor, 30 January 2012

How does radical Islamic terrorism impact Muslim immigrants in the West? The backlash against Muslims in the US after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 damaged assimilation among Muslim immigrants, argue the authors of CEPR DP8797 – and they present strong evidence to prove it.

Quamrul Ashraf, Oded Galor, 13 September 2007

A thousand years ago, Asia was ahead. Why is Europe richer now? Asia was geographically less vulnerable to cultural diffusion and thus benefited from enhanced assimilation, lower cultural diversity and greater accumulation of society-specific human capital; this was an edge in the agricultural stage. Greater cultural rigidity, however, diminished the ability to adapt to a new technological paradigm, delaying their industrialisation.