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MiLifeStatus team presents first findings at IMISCOE Barcelona

MiLifeStatus researchers Maarten Vink, Swantje Falcke, Floris Peters, Christophe Leclerc (all Maastricht University) and Anna Tegunimataka (Lund University) presented first findings of the MiLifeStatus project in three papers at the 2018 IMISCOE Annual Conference in Barcelona (2-4 July 2018). 

The team members presented the following three papers:

Maarten Vink (Maastricht University), Anna Tegunimataka (Lund University), Floris Peters (Maastricht University) and Pieter Bevelander (Malmo University): Immigrant Naturalization in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden: Origin, Destination and Life Course in Longitudinal Perspective (1995-2015)
Abstract: What is the relative influence of characteristics associated with origin country (geographical distance, human development, political regime, dual citizenship acceptance) and the migrant life course (age at migration, marital status, children) on the propensity of immigrants to naturalize, and how do these factors condition the impact of changing citizenship policies in destination countries? Despite a thriving literature on immigrant naturalization, most studies focus on origin country and individual characteristics while attention to institutional variation at the destination country level remains more limited. Data limitations have resulted in analyses that focus mostly on single destination countries and rarely capture policy change over time. This paper draws on micro-level longitudinal data from population registers in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden from 1995 to 2015. These data allow us to track the naturalization propensity of six migrant cohorts from up to 200 origin countries over a period of fifteen years for each cohort. The longitudinal and comparative design of the study enables an analysis of the influence of changing citizenship policies, covering both major institutional changes within countries over time (restrictions in Denmark in 2002, 2006, 2008; restriction in the Netherlands in 2003; acceptance of dual citizenship in Sweden in 2001) as well as a comparison of long-term differences between these countries. 

Swantje Falcke and Maarten Vink (Maastricht University): Mixed Signals: How the Ambiguous German Citizenship Law Reform of 2000 Affected Immigrant Naturalisation Propensity
Abstract: It is well-established that destination country citizenship policies shape naturalisation outcomes by setting conditions under which one becomes eligible to naturalise. In this context, liberalisation is assumed –ceteris paribus– to increase naturalisation propensity, while restrictive reforms result in fewer migrants acquiring citizenship. Yet, what happens when policy-makers provide mixed signals to immigrants? The reform of the German citizenship law in 2000 is such an example as it included major liberalising elements, in particular the reduction of the residency requirement from 15 to 8 years, but also restrictive elements such as increased fees and additional language proficiency requirements. Moreover, dual citizenship was facilitated by exempting more groups from the requirement to renounce one’s former citizenship, yet it also became easier to lose German citizenship after (re)acquiring another citizenship. Additionally, the introduction of ‘ius soli’ for immigrant children decreased the intergenerational motive to naturalise. While it is clear that this ambiguous reform resulted in declining naturalisation rates in Germany since 2000, it remains unclear which elements of the reform affected which groups of migrants in which way. Using data from the German-Socio-Economic Panel Study (waves 1993-2015) we analyse the effect of the reform in 2000 on the naturalisation propensity of first generation immigrants residing in Germany. We empirically disentangle how the naturalisation propensity for immigrants was affected by the introduction of ‘ius soli’ (i.e. immigrants with children), by dual citizenship reforms (i.e. immigrants from countries with dual citizenship acceptance) and by higher fees and language requirements (i.e. low income and less educated immigrants).

Christophe Leclerc (Maastricht University), Maarten Vink (Maastricht University) and Hans Schmeets (Statistics Netherlands, Maastricht University): Does community matter? The effect of residential ethnic segregation on naturalisation propensity in the Netherlands
Abstract: In the rich literature on the propensity to naturalise, most attention has gone so far to assessing the relevance of origin country characteristics, destination country citizenship policies and individual life course. What has been generally overlooked is the potential impact of contextual factors in the destination country. More specifically, little attention has been paid to the relation between citizenship acquisition and the social and ethnic environment in which immigrants reside in the host country. Given this backdrop, this paper investigates the effect of residential ethnic segregation on naturalisation propensity in the Netherlands. This paper bases its framework on pre-established theoretical models that have previously been used to examine the role played by ethnic networks in immigrants' integration. Four alternative hypotheses are laid out to disentangle the mechanisms that could potentially be driving the relation between ethnic segregation and naturalisation. These hypotheses place particular focus on the issues of ethnic networks and in-group identity formation and their relation with naturalisation propensity. This paper makes use of register longitudinal data retrieved from Statistics Netherlands. This approach allows to follow the development of individuals over time and hence to control for endogenous factors and self-selection bias. It also allows situating individuals within a particular spatial, political, and social context that can be determined according to fixed distance radius or to the number of nearest neighbours.

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MiLifeStatus has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 682626)

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