Cultural Distances and Immigrants' Labour Market Integration
This study focusses on cultural distances between immigrants’ religion and language and those of the host country. Referring to balance theory it is hypothesized that a greater cultural distance increases negative attitudes towards immigrants and impedes their labour market integration. We ask: To what extent can differences in the labour market integration of immigrants be attributed to their cultural distances? To answer this question we analyse data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). Using structural equation modelling we estimate the effects of language and religion distance as well as important socio-demographic variables such as education and religiousness on employment and compare differences between the four countries. We expect that people with a greater cultural distance are less likely to be employed than people with a smaller distance. The results will help to better understand the causes of immigrants’ employment disadvantages and particularly shed light on the interplay between cultural and social factors.