Acquisition of Citizenship Increases the Long-Term Earnings of Marginalized Immigrants


vicolo dalla Piccola 12

FBK-IRVAPP is pleased to invite you to the following seminar: “Acquisition of Citizenship Increases theLong-Term Earnings of Marginalized Immigrants”
With the partecipation of: Dominik Hangartner.
Language The seminar is held in english.
Abstract We study the long-term consequences of naturalization on immigrants’ success in the labor market. Despite its relevance, a scarcity of reliable evidence means that the causal effect of naturalization on economic outcomes remains unknown. We exploit quasi-random assignment of citizenship in Swiss municipalities that held referendums to decide the outcome of individual naturalization applications. To study economic outcomes, we link referendum outcomes to detailed social security records from Swiss authorities. This allows us to compare the earnings of immigrants who barely win their referendum to those who barely lose their referendum. Because our data includes economic outcomes for several years before and after referendums, we can estimate long-term effects of naturalization. The analysis shows large benefits of naturalization, with the annual salaries of referendum winners increasing by approximately 5,000 Swiss Francs. However, these benefits only materialize several years after referendums. We investigate multiple mechanisms behind this effect. We find stronger effects for more marginalized immigrants, who we argue are likely to benefit from reductions in discrimination after naturalizing. The results of our study suggest that naturalization can serve as a stepping stone to complete economic integration.


  • Dominik Hangartner
    Guest Speaker
    Dominik Hangartner is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at ETH Zurich and in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science (currently on leave). I am also a Faculty Co-Director of the Immigration Policy Lab, with branches at Stanford University and ETH Zurich. After pre-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Washington University in Saint Louis, and the University of California, Berkeley, he received his Ph.D. in Social Science from the University of Bern in 2011. He uses field work and statistics to study the effects of migration policies and political institutions. His work has been published in leading scholarly journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Science, and has received several awards including the Philip Leverhulme Prize and an ERC Starting Grant.




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