Gordon Dahl, Christina Felfe, Paul Frijters, Helmut Rainer, 10 May 2020

Granting birth-right citizenship to immigrant youth has the policy goal of increasing assimilation and welfare.  But could it have unintended consequences if the parents value a more traditional outcome? This column uses a reform in Germany and survey data of school children to show that birth-right citizenship lowers life satisfaction and self-esteem for Muslim immigrant girls, but not boys. For these girls, it also results in family and career anxiety, reduced parental investments in schooling and language, less self-identification as German, and more social isolation.

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