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Analyzing the effects of state policy and native behavior on immigrant assimilation – Evidence from Germans in the US during World War I

Date and Time: 
Friday, October 21, 2016. 12:00 PM - 01:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Building 110, Room 112
Workshop: 
Approaches to Data Scarcity in Ancient History
Meeting Description: 

How do the assimilation patterns of immigrant groups respond to native hostility  and to policies of forced integration? Theory and evidence on this is inconclusive. Minorities may either increase their assimilation efforts to avoid discrimination, or they may withdraw into their own communities and become alienated from, and even oppositional to, the broader society. My work uses data from early 20th century US history to answer the above questions and draw conclusions for the determinants of successful immigrant integration today. I examine how a large immigrant group, Germans in the US, responded to anti-German sentiment and to language restrictions in elementary schools during and after World War I. To trace the assimilation of German-Americans, I use a variety of data sources, including linked census records, World War II enlistments and petitions for naturalization, and I construct a number of proxies for hard to measure variables, such as the strength of ethnic identification or hostile native attitudes. In presenting the above research program, the emphasis will be on how to deal with data limitations when measuring social outcomes in a historical context.

Vicky Fouka is a professor in the department of Political Science at Stanford University. Her main research interests are cultural economics and political economy. Her research combines theory and statistical methods to examine how identity and attitudes are shaped by state policies and history and how they themselves affect economic and political outcomes.

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