Culture and Legal Status Trade-offs in Marriage Markets

The paper presented is joint work with Jerome Adda and Giulia Tura. Find the abstract below, or read more about Pinotti on his site:

Paolo Pinotti's site

We relate intermarriage formation to cultural distance between spouses and legal status acquisition motives in the context of a marital matching framework. We empirically estimate the effect of legal status acquisition on gains to intermarriage exploiting registry data on the universe of marriages in Italy and exogenous variation in immigrants’ legal status, as determined by the EU enlargement process. Other things equal, access to legal status in Italy reduces the surplus of intermarriages between Italian males (females) and new EU citizens by 73 percent (90 percent). Building on this evidence, we develop and structurally estimate an equilibrium matching model allowing for trade-offs between cultural distance, legal status, and other spouses’ socio-economic characteristics. Counterfactual analysis based on the structurally estimated parameters provides important insights regarding how country specific visa programs would affect the marriage patterns and how would marriage patterns change if we close the cultural-linguistic gap.