Kevin Lewis

September 07, 2018

Direct and Indirect Xenophobic Attacks: Unpacking Portfolios of Identity
Sergio Garcia-Rios, Francisco Pedraza & Bryan Wilcox-Archuleta
Political Behavior, forthcoming


Political threats are typically conceptualized by scholars as targeting particular groups of people. We call for also conceptualizing threats as political attacks directed towards particular facets of an individual’s identity portfolio. We reason that individual political responses to political attacks depend on the strength of identity with the group under attack, just as Social Identity Theory anticipates, but we contend that responses also depend on the shared social categories across an identity portfolio. Drawing on data from 2006–2016, we compare the political assessments of various presidential candidates between Mexican heritage Latinos and other non-Mexican heritage Latinos. Given the specificity of the rhetoric towards Mexican heritage Latinos in 2016, we find evidence that Mexicans and non-Mexicans cast distinct judgments of Donald Trump. Yet, we observe no comparable distinction in prior electoral contexts, suggesting that 2016 uniquely politicized the responses among Mexican heritage Latinos.

When Time Binds: Substitutes for Household Production, Returns to Working Long Hours, and the Skilled Gender Wage Gap
Patricia Cortes & Jessica Pan
Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming


We provide evidence that constraints that prevent highly-skilled women from working long hours hinder gender pay equality. We show that relaxing one such constraint by increasing the supply of substitutes for household production – proxied by intercity variation in predicted low-skilled immigration – increases the relative earnings of women in occupations that disproportionately reward overwork. Low-skilled immigration inflows induce young women to enter occupations with higher returns to overwork and shift women toward higher quantiles of the male wage distribution. The share of women in the top decile remains unaffected, suggesting that other barriers prevent women from reaching the very top.

How Partisan Is Local Law Enforcement? Evidence from Sheriff Cooperation with Immigration Authorities
Daniel Thompson
Stanford Working Paper, July 2018


Is local law enforcement conducted differently based on the party in power? I offer an answer to this question by focusing on a case in which law enforcement is elected and has meaningful independent discretion: sheriff compliance with federal requests to detain unauthorized immigrants. Using a regression discontinuity design in a new dataset of over 3,200 partisan sheriff elections and administrative data on sheriff behavior, I find that Democrats and Republicans comply at nearly the same rate. These results contribute to ongoing research into the role that partisanship plays in local policymaking, indicating that law enforcement officers make similar choices across party lines even when they have broad authority. I also present evidence that sheriffs hold more similar immigration enforcement views across party than the general public, highlighting the role of candidate entry in determining the level of partisan polarization.

The New White Flight?: The Effects of Political Appeals to Latinos on White Democrats
Mara Cecilia Ostfeld
Political Behavior, forthcoming


One explanation for the post-1965 shift in the vote choice of White Americans posits that it was driven by a shift in the racial imagery of the two major parties. The growing role of Latinos in the Democratic Party has brought new changes in the racial groups associated with the parties. In this paper, I explore whether the increasing attention to Latinos in Democratic Party politics is having an effect similar to that which followed African-Americans political repositioning 50 years ago, and decreasing support for the Party among White Democrats. Drawing on three survey experiments, from two elections, I demonstrate that as White Democrats learn about Democratic outreach to Latinos, they become less supportive of Democrats. This pattern, I find, is driven by the effects that such information has on the racial prototypes associated with each party. All together, these findings point to a new phase of racial realignment in the American political system.

In-Migration and Dilution of Community Social Capital
Julie Hotchkiss & Anil Rupasingha
Federal Reserve Working Paper, July 2018


Consistent with predictions from the literature, we find that higher levels of in-migration dilute multiple dimensions of a community's level of social capital. The analysis employs a 2SLS methodology to account for potential endogeneity of migration.

Temporary Protected Status and Immigration to the United States
David Leblang et al.
University of Virginia Working Paper, June 2018


Although immigration reform has proved elusive for more than forty years, presidents from both parties have issued crucial executive actions that regulate inflows of new immigrants and the status of those already in the US. We focus on a particular class of executive actions, those related to granting immigrants Temporary Protected Status (TPS), exploiting the fact that immigrants who hold TPS receive access to the formal US labor market regardless of their legal status. Harnessing the New Economics of Labor Migration (NELM), we hypothesize that granting TPS to immigrants increases remittances to crisis-affected countries, decreasing the demand for both legal and illegal entry into the United States. We find robust statistical support for this hypothesis, and we also use synthetic control methods to evaluate TPS as a policy lever in prominent TPS-eligible countries. Our findings shed light on potentially unintended consequences that flow from providing labor market access to immigrants in the United States.

When Gaps Become Huuuuge: Donald Trump and Beliefs about Immigration
Magdalena Saldaña, Lourdes Cueva-Chacón & Víctor García-Perdomo
Mass Communication and Society, forthcoming


Immigration became a hot issue during the 2016 presidential election, in part due to Donald Trump’s offensive campaign against immigrants and minorities in general. Drawing upon the belief gap hypothesis, we tested if support for Donald Trump increased false beliefs about immigrants. The belief gap hypothesis explains differences in beliefs about empirically verifiable and politically contested issues, relying on ideology and partisanship — instead of education — to predict people’s beliefs. Relying on nationally representative panel data, this study explored how political ideology and education work together to predict belief gaps about immigrants. Findings suggest conservative ideology and education interact to predict attitudes, showing that highly educated conservatives hold more negative beliefs about immigrants as compared to highly educated liberals or less educated conservatives. We also found Trump’s supporters exhibit negative attitudes and beliefs about immigration – yet, results indicate Donald Trump is not the cause of such attitudes but the catalyst that reveals them. Implications for theory and future research are discussed.

Will the U.S. Keep the Best and the Brightest (as Post-docs)? Career and Location Preferences of Foreign STEM PhDs
Ina Ganguli & Patrick Gaulé
NBER Working Paper, July 2018


We estimate the career and location preferences of students in U.S. doctoral programs in a major STEM field – chemistry. Our analysis is based on novel survey conducted in 2017 of 1,605 current Chemistry doctoral students enrolled in the top 54 U.S. research intensive universities. First, we estimate the career preferences of foreign and U.S. STEM students for different types of post-graduation jobs – postdocs, industry, or teaching positions – using both hypothetical choice methods and more standard Likert measures of preferences for different careers. We find that foreign students are generally more interested in academic careers than U.S. students, even when controlling for ability and comparing students from similar subfields and programs. Next, we estimate students’ location preferences using a hypothetical choice method: we ask respondents to choose between two postdoc job offers, where one offer is in the U.S. and one is abroad. We find that foreign students have a stronger preference for U.S. locations even after controlling for ability and career preferences. Our results suggest the U.S. is managing to retain talented foreign graduate students for postdoc positions.

The impact of U.S. deportation of criminals on gang development and education in El Salvador
Priti Kalsi
Journal of Development Economics, November 2018, Pages 433-448 


This paper links American criminal deportations with gang activity and reduced schooling in El Salvador. Regions with greater business density before the deportations are argued to be suitable for future gangs, as extortion of businesses is their primary source of income. These regions are shown to become disproportionately more violent with more criminal deportations. Using variation in time and location, I estimate a difference-in-differences model to study the impact of gang exposure on children's education. Gangs hinder basic education (comparable to U.S. grades 1–9), with boys experiencing a greater loss in schooling. I reject the threat of a pre-existing trend and selective migration in high business density areas. The results do not appear to be explained by violence alone, but by a weakening economy in gang-prone areas that could have lowered the returns to schooling. Boys' involvement in gangs and increased employment could explain their larger loss of schooling.

Exporting Murder: US Deportations & the Spread of Violence
Christian Ambrosius & David Leblang
University of Virginia Working Paper, July 2018


Existing literature on cross-national variation in violence has paid little attention to the transnational transmission of crime. One such channel are the forced returns of migrants with a criminal record in their countries of temporary residence. Responding to this research gap, we study the effect of US deportations of convicts on levels of violent crime in deportees’ countries of origin for a cross-country panel of up to 123 countries covering the years 2003 to 2015. We find a strong and robust effect of criminal deportations on homicide rates in countries of origin, that is to a large degree driven by deportations towards Latin America and the Caribbean. An additional inflow of ten deportees with a criminal history per 100,000 increases expected homicide rates by more than two. In addition to controlling for country specific fixed effects, we provide evidence on a causal effect using an instrumental variable approach, that exploits spatial and time variation in migrant populations’ exposure to state level immigration policies in the US.

Kenji or Kenneth? Pearl Harbor and Japanese-American Assimilation
Martin Hugo Saavedra
Oberlin College Working Paper, July 2018


Do immigrants assimilate in response to an exogenous shock in anti-immigrant sentiment? This paper investigates this question by examining the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a natural experiment. I generate an index for the Americanization of first names from the 1900-1930 censuses and merge this index with records from the universe of Japanese-American internees during WWII. Regression discontinuity design estimates suggest that Japanese Americans born in the days after Pearl Harbor were more likely to have an Americanized first name relative to children born in the days before December 7th, 1941.

Intergenerational Mobility and the Political Economy of Immigration
Henning Bohn & Armando Lopez-Velasco
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, September 2018, Pages 72-88


Flows of US immigrants are concentrated at the extremes of the skill distribution. We develop a dynamic political economy model consistent with these observations. Individuals care about wages and the welfare of their children. Skill types are complementary in production. Voter support for immigration requires that the children of median-voter natives and of immigrants have sufficiently dissimilar skills. We estimate intergenerational transition matrices for skills, as measured by education, and find support for immigration at high and low skills, but not in the middle. In a version with guest worker programs, voters prefer high-skilled immigrants but low-skilled guest workers.

Collectivism in the labor market: Evidence from second generation immigrants in the United States
Lisa Sofie Höckel
Journal of Comparative Economics, forthcoming


This study investigates the role of collectivism on labor market outcomes in an individualist country. We explore collectivism as an intergenerationally transmitted cultural value and analyze its explanatory power for the economic outcome of 21,000 male homogamous second generation immigrants in the US. Our collectivism proxy is derived from the country of ancestry’s historical disease environment because collectivistic values have been particularly advantageous in countries with a greater prevalence of disease-causing pathogens. Employing this new collectivism proxy that identifies collectivism more precisely than previously used cultural proxies, we find that higher scores of collectivism are associated with higher labor force participation and income earned in the US. The results on income are channeled through the number of hours worked and self-selection into jobs that require collectivistic traits. By analyzing the labor market performance of second generation immigrants, we are the first to show an occupational selection along cultural skills implying that second generation immigrants sort into occupations that demand skills on which they have a “cultural comparative advantage”.

US Immigration, Residential Queuing, and Intergenerational Spatial Mobility: The Implications for White and Black Native-Born Families
Jeremy Pais
Social Forces, forthcoming


The effects of increasing levels of immigration on neighborhood change have long been examined, but questions remain about the effects of immigration on the neighborhood socioeconomic attainments of native-born families. This study draws from prior work to anticipate a residential queuing process that is triggered by immigration. Residential queuing is a social process that is driven by families striving to improve their residential circumstances in a stratified and uncertain urban landscape affected by increasing immigration. Empirically, residential queuing is evaluated over the course of two familial generations as native families respond to changing levels of exposure to foreign-born populations at the census-tract and metropolitan-area level. The results provide support for a historically established residential queuing process based on native avoidance of neighborhoods with increasing concentrations of foreign-born residents in conjunction with greater levels of upward residential mobility in metropolitan areas with increasing shares of foreign-born population. Alternative expectations from within the general queuing perspective are also evaluated: The sidestep perspective anticipates native-born families from poor, especially poor black, neighborhoods to be negatively affected by increasing metropolitan levels of foreign-born population, and the neighborhood revitalization perspective anticipates native-born families from poor neighborhoods to benefit from an increased neighborhood-level presence of immigration. The implications of these findings for immigration effects research and residential stratification are discussed.

Superficial Equality: Gender and immigration in Asian American political participation
Christian Dyogi Phillips & Taeku Lee
Politics, Groups, and Identities, Summer 2018, Pages 373-388


Asian American men and women have voted at roughly similar rates across the last three presidential elections. This sets Asian Americans apart; women in America have generally voted at higher rates than men since the 1980s. The women in politics and immigrant incorporation literatures suggest that pathways to participation may be distinct for women and men. Yet, there is scant attention to gender in studies of Asian American political participation. As a result, little theoretical or empirical foundation exists for explaining why the gender gap in participation is so different for Asian Americans. To better understand this puzzle, we analyze pooled data from the National Asian American Surveys of 2008, 2012, and 2016. The data show that women are less likely to vote than men once we account for variables related to resources, mediating institutions, and immigrant incorporation. We also demonstrate that Asian American women who are foreign-born citizens are less likely to participate across a range of modes of political action, and across ethnic groups. We argue that this is evidence that gender and ethnicity simultaneously condition the processes of immigrant political incorporation, and the study of gender gaps must be approached more broadly as a political and comparative phenomenon.

Determinants of refugee naturalization in the United States
Nadwa Mossaad et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming


The United States operates the world’s largest refugee resettlement program. However, there is almost no systematic evidence on whether refugees successfully integrate into American society over the long run. We address this gap by drawing on linked administrative data to directly measure a long-term integration outcome: naturalization rates. Assessing the full population of refugees resettled between 2000 and 2010, we find that refugees naturalize at high rates: 66% achieved citizenship by 2015. This rate is substantially higher than among other immigrants who became eligible for citizenship during the same period. We also find significant heterogeneity in naturalization rates. Consistent with the literature on immigration more generally, sociodemographic characteristics condition the likelihood of naturalization. Women, refugees with longer residency, and those with higher education levels are more likely to obtain citizenship. National origins also matter. While refugees from Iran, Iraq, and Somalia naturalize at higher rates, those from Burma, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Liberia naturalize at lower rates. We also find naturalization success is significantly shaped by the initial resettlement location. Placing refugees in areas that are urban, have lower rates of unemployment, and have a larger share of conationals increases the likelihood of acquiring citizenship. These findings suggest pathways to promote refugee integration by targeting interventions and by optimizing the geographic placement of refugees.

How Does Immigration Affect Suicide? An Analysis of U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Lauren Krivo & Julie Phillips
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Methods: We use data on 250 U.S. metropolitan areas and ordinary least squares regression to examine the association between immigration and suicide for 2008–2010.

Results: Net of controls, recent immigration is linked to lower suicide levels for the native‐born population but has no association with foreign‐born suicide rates. High levels of immigration are most protective for native‐born suicide under favorable economic conditions.

Healthy Eating among Mexican Immigrants: Migration in Childhood and Time in the United States
Jennifer Van Hook et al.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior, September 2018, Pages 391-410


Past research on immigrant health frequently finds that the duration of time lived in the United States is associated with the erosion of immigrants’ health advantages. However, the timing of U.S. migration during the life course is rarely explored. We draw from developmental and sociological perspectives to theorize how migration during childhood may be related to healthy eating among adult immigrants from Mexico. We test these ideas with a mechanism-based age-period-cohort model to disentangle age, age at arrival, and duration of residence. Results show that immigrants who arrived during preschool ages (2–5 years) and school ages (6–11 years) have less healthy diets than adult arrivals (25+ years). After accounting for age at arrival, duration of residence is positively related to healthy eating. Overall, the findings highlight the need to focus more research and policy interventions on child immigrants, who may be particularly susceptible to adopting unhealthy American behaviors during sensitive periods of childhood.


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