Return of the 'Race Relation Cycle'? An autoregressive panel analysis on the socioeconomic and social integration of immigrants in Germany

Sascha Riedel, University of Cologne

In migration research there is an on-going controversy about the sequence of immigrants’ adaption process. In general, economic attainment is considered the most crucial stage of incorporating into the host society. In both the original- and revised formulation of assimilation theory this stage precedes the development of interethnic contacts. Nevertheless, the approach of social capital as well as more recent empirical publications point to the importance of social networks in facilitating occupational advancement. The German literature on this topic mostly highlights a larger importance of social bonds to members of the majority (bridging networks) than to own ethnics (bonding networks). This is mostly due to low occupational stratification levels in ethnic enclaves and a large importance of formal qualifications in the German labour market. Up to date, there is a lack of thorough longitudinal analyses on the interrelation of socioeconomic and social integration. Therefore, it remains unsolved whether occupational or educational attainment facilitates social contacts to members of the host society, or whether a reversed linkage exists. This paper tackles these methodological gaps by performing autoregressive cross-lagged panel models on data of the German Socio-economic Panel study (GSOEP). The chosen method is especially appropriate for testing reverse relationships. Furthermore, due to the longitudinal design of the data strong arguments of causality may be derived from the study at hand. The paper closes with a theoretical framing of the results and an outlook for future research.

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Presented in Session 53: Economic integration of immigrant populations