447.1 Ethnic capital, social capital and immigrants' labour market integration in Germany

Friday, August 3, 2012: 9:00 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Benjamin SCHULZ , Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany
For the case of Germany, the role of immigrants’ social networks for their structural assimilation is still debated controversially. Empirical findings are far from conclusive, and contradictory theoretical expectations are discussed vividly. On the one hand it has been argued that under certain conditions lacks of resources specific to the receiving country can be compensated by ethnic resources or result in potentially beneficial segmented assimilation pathways. On the other hand, a strong embedding in immigrant groups may constrain immigrants’ advancement in the receiving society, because co-ethnics may not be able to provide crucial resources. A particularly strong networking culture within an ethnic group could imply fewer relationships to majority members. Thereby ethnic communities could represent a ‘mobility trap’.

Against this background, data of the so-called stage 8 “Adult Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) in Germany are analyzed. For several immigrant groups, esp. immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Turkey unemployment durations are investigated. Competing risk event history models are applied to account for several (potential) reasons why people may succeed to escape unemployment. Furthermore, Cox regression modelling is modified to meet the peculiarities of multiple unemployment spells.

Results show that ethnic networks do not hinder immigrants’ job search per se, but that they are generally rather harmful, because co-ethnics are often in lower social positions. Consequently, ethnic networks typically can give access to less social capital than those of majority group members. Since a comprehensive social capital instrument has been included in NEPS, the role of ethnic and social capital can be tested more directly than in many other studies. In particular, socio-structural and (ethnic) compositional aspects of social capital as well as access to relevant resources are differentiated.