Anna Tegunimataka, who finished her PhD in economic history last June, has been awarded the Färs and Frosta Prize for best doctoral dissertation at LUSEM. The prize is 100,000 SEK.
The titel of her thesis is: Trajectories of Integration: Naturalization, Intermarriage and Education in Denmark, 1980-2015
This dissertation examines socio-economic outcomes of first and second generation immigrants in Denmark and adds to our understanding of different trajectories of immigrant integration by studying policy and family related
factors. The association between family composition and socio-economic outcomes of the individual is in this thesis examined by studying the effects of intermarriage. Comparably high intermarriage premiums are found for foregin born who experience limited possibilities in the Danish labor market. Positive effects of intermarriage are also found when comparing the educational performance of children of intermarriage to the educational performance of children with two foreign born parents, also when taking school and family level characteristics into account.
Policy and legislation constitute other factors that can either stimulate or hinder immigrant integration. Rules and regulations concerning naturalization is one such policy area. Consistent naturalization premiums are found in this dissertation, but only for immigrants who are more marginalized in the Danish labor market. Also education policies matter. An educational reform with the aim of enhancing immigrant integration by increasing school children’s Danish language proficiency is studied. The assumption was that by removing supplementary mother tongue education, the focus on learning the Danish language would be strengthened. The results, however, rather show negative effects of the reform, as the removal led to lower grades in Danish, thus the results support the argument that mother-tongue proficiency matters for second language acquisition.
Common findings in all studies included in this dissertation are the large group differences in terms of results. For immigrants who originate from countries that are more culturally and geographically proximate to Denmark, naturalization and intermarriage are less important as integration tools. These groups already tend to be economically and socially integrated in Danish society, and they seem to be less in need of an additional boost from changing citizenship or marrying a Dane. Instead groups with more distant countries of origin are benefiting
from intermarriage and naturalization. Children of intermarriage indeed tend to perform better in school than children belonging to the second generation of immigrants, and their performance is more in line with the performance of native Danes. But when taking parental heterogeneity into account differences emerge, and children with a non-native parent originating from a country more culturally and geographically distant from Denmark, tend to have an educational performance more in line with the second generation of immigrants.