April 2012

IZA DP No. 6467: Cultural Integration: Experimental Evidence of Changes in Immigrants' Preferences

published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, March 2015, 111, 38-58.

Cultural traits play a significant role in the determination of economic outcomes and institutions. This paper presents evidence from laboratory experiments on the cultural integration of individuals of Chinese ethnicity in Australia, focusing on social preferences, preferences for competition, and risk attitudes. We show that the greater the share of education an individual receives in the West, the more they behave like Western subjects and the less they behave according to the norms of their Eastern heritage. Increased exposure to Western education has a strong negative impact on altruism, trust, and trustworthiness. For risk and competitive preferences, our results are gender-specific. These results have important implications for policy making and institution building in multi-cultural societies.