Kevin Lewis

October 24, 2014

Human Capital Spillovers in Families: Do Parents Learn from or Lean on Their Children?

Ilyana Kuziemko
Journal of Labor Economics, October 2014, Pages 755-786

I model how children's acquisition of a given form of human capital incentivizes adults in their household to either learn from them (if children can teach the skill to adults, adults' cost of learning falls) or lean on them (if children's human capital substitutes for that of adults in household production, adults' benefit from learning falls). Using variation in compliance with an English-immersion mandate in California schools, I find that English instruction improved immigrant children's English proficiency but discouraged adults living with them from acquiring the language. Whether family members "learn" or "lean" affects the externalities associated with education policies.


Reclassification Patterns Among Latino English Learner Students in Bilingual, Dual Immersion, and English Immersion Classrooms

Ilana Umansky & Sean Reardon
American Educational Research Journal, October 2014, Pages 879-912

Schools are under increasing pressure to reclassify their English learner (EL) students to "fluent English proficient" status as quickly as possible. This article examines timing to reclassification among Latino ELs in four distinct linguistic instructional environments: English immersion, transitional bilingual, maintenance bilingual, and dual immersion. Using hazard analysis and 12 years of data from a large school district, the study investigates whether reclassification timing, patterns, or barriers differ by linguistic program. We find that Latino EL students enrolled in two-language programs are reclassified at a slower pace in elementary school but have higher overall reclassification, English proficiency, and academic threshold passage by the end of high school. We discuss the implications of these findings for accountability policies and educational opportunities in EL programs.


Immigration Enforcement, Policing, and Crime: Evidence from the Secure Communities Program

Elina Treyger, Aaron Chalfin & Charles Loeffler
Criminology & Public Policy, May 2014, Pages 285-322

In 2008, the federal government introduced "Secure Communities," a program that requires local law enforcement agencies to share arrestee information with federal immigration officials. We employed the staggered activation of Secure Communities to examine whether this program has an effect on crime or the behavior of local police. Supporters of the program argue that it enhances public safety by facilitating the removal of criminal aliens. Critics worry that it will encourage discriminatory policing. We found little evidence for the most ambitious promises of the program or for its critics' greatest fears.


Criminal epidemiology and the immigrant paradox: Intergenerational discontinuity in violence and antisocial behavior among immigrants

Michael Vaughn et al.
Journal of Criminal Justice, November-December 2014, Pages 483-490

Purpose: A growing number of studies have examined the immigrant paradox with respect to antisocial behavior and crime in the United States. However, there remains a need for a comprehensive examination of the intergenerational nature of violence and antisocial behavior among immigrants using population-based samples.

Methods: The present study, employing data from Wave I and II data of the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), sought to address these gaps by examining the prevalence of nonviolent criminal and violent antisocial behavior among first, second, and third-generation immigrants and compare these to the prevalence found among non-immigrants and each other in the United States.

Results: There is clear evidence of an intergenerational severity-based gradient in the relationship between immigrant status and antisocial behavior and crime. The protective effect of nativity is far-and-away strongest among first-generation immigrants, attenuates substantially among second-generation immigrants, and essentially disappears among third-generation immigrants. These patterns were also stable across gender.

Conclusion: The present study is among the first to examine the intergenerational nature of antisocial behavior and crime among immigrants using population-based samples. Results provide robust evidence that nativity as a protective factor for immigrants wanes with each successive generation.


Racially Charged Legislation and Latino Health Disparities: The Case of Arizona's S.B. 1070

Kathryn Freeman Anderson & Jessie Finch
Sociological Spectrum, November/December 2014, Pages 526-548

Researchers have established that minority groups tend to suffer worse health outcomes compared to their white counterparts, though the specific mechanisms at play are still under investigation. The passing of Arizona's 2010 "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act," commonly referred to as "S.B. 1070," provides a unique opportunity to examine the effects of an increasingly racially charged milieu on Latino health. Using the Arizona sample of the 2009-2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we find that the changing social setting around S.B. 1070 is related to poorer Latino self-reported health, but only for those whose primary language is Spanish. Furthermore, serving as control groups, we find no such relationship in other U.S.-Mexico border states that had no analogous legislation (Texas, New Mexico, and California). We expand on stress process theory and group position theory to explain this increase in Arizona's negative health reporting, despite traditional social and economic protective factors.


Pathways between acculturation and health behaviors among residents of low-income housing: The mediating role of social and contextual factors

Jennifer Allen et al.
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Acculturation may influence health behaviors, yet mechanisms underlying its effect are not well understood. In this study, we describe relationships between acculturation and health behaviors among low-income housing residents, and examine whether these relationships are mediated by social and contextual factors. Residents of 20 low-income housing sites in the Boston metropolitan area completed surveys that assessed acculturative characteristics, social/contextual factors, and health behaviors. A composite acculturation scale was developed using latent class analysis, resulting in four distinct acculturative groups. Path analysis was used to examine interrelationships between acculturation, health behaviors, and social/contextual factors, specifically self-reported social ties, social support, stress, material hardship, and discrimination. Of the 828 respondents, 69% were born outside of the U.S. Less acculturated groups exhibited healthier dietary practices and were less likely to smoke than more acculturated groups. Acculturation had a direct effect on diet and smoking, but not physical activity. Acculturation also showed an indirect effect on diet through its relationship with material hardship. Our finding that material hardship mediated the relationship between acculturation and diet suggests the need to explicate the significant role of financial resources in interventions seeking to promote healthy diets among low-income immigrant groups. Future research should examine these social and contextual mediators using larger, population-based samples, preferably with longitudinal data.


The Effect of Community Linguistic Isolation on Language-Minority Student Achievement in High School

Timothy Arthur Drake
Educational Researcher, October 2014, Pages 327-340

Research on language-minority student outcomes has revealed sizeable and persistent achievement gaps. The reasons for these gaps are often closely linked with other factors related to underperformance, including generational status, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Using sociocultural second-language acquisition theories and community linguistic capital as a theoretical frame, this study builds upon the extant literature to examine the relationship between community linguistic isolation and language-minority 10th-grade student achievement outcomes. I find that language minority achievement gaps are three to five tenths of a standard deviation in reading and math but that the effect is attenuated by increased levels of linguistic isolation. These results appear robust to a number of specifications. Possible reasons for the attenuation are also discussed.


Naturalization Fosters the Long-Term Political Integration of Immigrants

Jens Hainmueller, Dominik Hangartner & Giuseppe Pietrantuono
Stanford Working Paper, October 2014

Does naturalization lead to a better political integration of immigrants into the host society? Despite heated debates about citizenship policy, there exists almost no causal evidence that isolates the independent effect of naturalization from the non-random selection into naturalization. We provide new evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland where some municipalities use secret ballot referendums as the mechanism to decide naturalization requests. Balance checks suggest that for naturalization referendums, which are decided by a thin vote margin, the naturalization decision is as good as random so that narrowly rejected and narrowly approved immigrant applicants are very similar on all confounding characteristics. This allows us to remove selection effects and obtain unbiased estimates of the long-term impacts of citizenship. The analysis suggests that getting the Swiss passport considerably improved the political integration of immigrants, including increases in formal political participation, political knowledge, and political efficacy.


Ethnic Diversity, Economic and Cultural Contexts, and Social Trust: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Evidence from European Regions, 2002-2010

Conrad Ziller
Social Forces, forthcoming

A growing literature investigates the relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust. Comparative research in the European context employing country-level indicators has predominantly produced inconclusive results. This study examines the relationship between immigration-related diversity and social trust at the sub-national level of European regions. The regional perspective allows the capture of relevant variations in ethnic context while it still generates comparable results for a broader European context. Using survey data from the European Social Survey 2002-2010 merged with immigration figures from the European Labour Force Survey, this study builds upon previous research by testing the relationships between various diversity indicators and social trust in cross-sectional and longitudinal perspective. In addition, it investigates the role of economic and cultural contexts as moderators. The results show that across European regions, different aspects of immigration-related diversity are negatively related to social trust. In longitudinal perspective, an increase in immigration is related to a decrease in social trust. Tests of the conditional hypotheses reveal that regional economic growth and ethnic polarization as a cultural context moderate the relationship. Immigration growth is particularly strongly associated with a decrease in social trust in contexts of economic decline and high ethnic polarization. However, there is some evidence that in contexts of low polarization the relationship is actually positive.


Two Decades of Negative Educational Selectivity of Mexican Migrants to the United States

Michael Rendall & Susan Parker
Population and Development Review, September 2014, Pages 421-446

Immigration is commonly considered to be selective of more educated individuals. Previous US studies comparing the educational attainment of Mexican immigrants in the United States to that of the Mexican resident population support this characterization. Upward educational-attainment biases in both coverage and measurement, however, may be substantial in US data sources. Moreover, differences in educational attainment by place size are very large within Mexico, and US data sources provide no information on immigrants' places of origin within Mexico. To address these problems, we use multiple sources of nationally representative Mexican survey data to re-evaluate the educational selectivity of working-age Mexican migrants to the United States over the 1990s and 2000s. We document disproportionately rural and small-urban-area origins of Mexican migrants and a steep positive gradient of educational attainment by place size. We show that together these conditions induced strongly negative educational selection of Mexican migrants throughout the 1990s and 2000s. We interpret this finding as consistent with low returns to education among unauthorized migrants and few opportunities for authorized migration.


The role of social desirability bias and racial/ethnic composition on the relation between education and attitude toward immigration restrictionism

Brian An
Social Science Journal, forthcoming

Social scientists note individuals tend to respond favorably to sensitive topics in surveys, but few consider factors triggering these responses. This study uses unique data to examine respondents' racial/ethnic attitude under direct and indirect modes of elicitation. In particular, the list experiment provides a cloak of anonymity to a random subsample of individuals that allows them to respond truthfully about their racial/ethnic attitudes. By comparing responses between administration modes, this study evaluates whether social desirability pressures mediate, and racial/ethnic composition moderate, the relation between education and racial/ethnic attitudes. Findings indicate an initial positive relation between education and racial/ethnic attitudes, but desirability bias mainly drives this relation. Furthermore, there is some support racial/ethnic composition moderates the influence of social desirability on education.


Undocumented Immigrant Threat and Support for Social Controls

Ted Chiricos et al.
Social Problems, November 2014, Pages 673-692

Popular support for enhanced border and internal controls to deal with undocumented immigration is examined in relation to contextual measures of group threat as well as perceived levels of cultural and economic threat posed by undocumented immigrants. Results from a national survey of non-Latino respondents (N = 1,364) indicate that presumed threatening context measured in static terms is inconsequential. But when context is measured in dynamic terms that also reflect dispersion and potential contact, it significantly predicts support for border controls. Perceived threats are stronger predictors of support for enhanced controls than either contextual indicators of presumed threat or individual characteristics of respondents. Results also show that perceived economic and cultural threats mediate the effects of individual respondent characteristics and dynamic contextual conditions as well. Implications for future research on immigrant threat emphasize the importance of context measured in both change and dispersion-related terms and responses to threat that distinguish alternative dimensions of control. Future work should also consider that perceptions of threat may not only have direct influence on immigration policy preferences but can mediate the effects of context and individual characteristics on those preferences.


Pre- to Postimmigration Alcohol Use Trajectories Among Recent Latino Immigrants

Mariana Sanchez et al.
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, forthcoming

The escalation of alcohol use among some Latino immigrant groups as their time in the United States increases has been well documented. Yet, little is known about the alcohol use behaviors of Latino immigrants before immigration. This prospective longitudinal study examines pre- to postimmigration alcohol use trajectories among a cohort of recent Latino immigrants. Retrospective preimmigration data were collected at baseline from a sample of 455 Cuban, South American, and Central American Latinos ages 18-34 who immigrated to the United States less than 1 year prior. Two follow-up assessments (12 months apart) reported on their postimmigration alcohol use in the past 90 days. We hypothesized (a) overall declines in pre- to postimmigration alcohol among recent Latino immigrants and (b) gender/documentation specific effects, with higher rates of alcohol use among males and undocumented participants compared to their female and documented counterparts. Growth curve analyses revealed males had higher levels of preimmigration alcohol use with steeper declines in postimmigration alcohol use compared to females. Declines in alcohol use frequency were observed for documented, but not undocumented males. No changes in pre- to postimmigration alcohol use were found for documented or undocumented females. This study contributes to the limited knowledge of pre- to postimmigration alcohol use patterns among Latinos in the United States. Future research is needed to identify social determinants associated with the alcohol use trajectories of recent Latino immigrants, as it may inform prediction, prevention, and treatment of problem-drinking behaviors among the largest and fastest growing ethnic minority in the United States.


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