IZA DP No. 7881: Migration, Friendship Ties and Cultural Assimilation
published in: Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2015, 117, 619-649.
Using novel information from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the period 1996-2011, we document that migrants with a German friend are more similar to natives than those without a local companion along several important dimensions, including engagement in social activities, concerns about the economy, interest in politics and broad policy issues like the environment, crime and xenophobia. When looking at the determinants of friendship acquisition, we find that the acquisition of a new job is the cause (rather than the product) of social network variations. Other factors driving the acquisition of a native friend include the number of years the migrant has spent in the country, the birth of a child, residential mobility and additional education in the host country.