Dual citizenship rights: do they make more and richer citizens?

Demography. 2009 Feb;46(1):169-91. doi: 10.1353/dem.0.0038.

Abstract

In the 1990s, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Brazil passed dual citizenship laws granting their expatriates the right to naturalize in the receiving country without losing their nationality of origin. I estimate the effects of these new laws on naturalization rates and labor market outcomes in the United States. Based on data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. censuses, I find that immigrants recently granted dual nationality rights are more likely to naturalize relative to immigrants from other Latin American countries. They also experience relative employment and earnings gains, together with drops in welfare use, suggesting that dual citizenship rights not only increase the propensity to naturalize but may also promote economic assimilation. The effects of dual citizenship on improved economic performance, if mediated through naturalization, are consistent with American citizenship conferring greater economic opportunities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Censuses
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emigration and Immigration / trends
  • Employment / economics*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Employment / trends
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Male
  • Politics
  • Social Change
  • Social Welfare / economics
  • Social Welfare / statistics & numerical data
  • South America
  • United States