Working Papers

Migration for Marriage [Paper] [Slides] [Twitter Summary] [Blog Post]
Previous title: "Importing Love: Muslim Marriage Migration in the UK"

This paper has received the Sir Alec Cairncross Prize for the best paper at the Annual Conference of the Scottish Economic Society (SES) in 2024.

Policymakers are concerned about permanent migration and are enforcing policies to tighten it. Marriage migration, wherein a citizen marries a foreigner, is a significant driver of permanent migration to OECD countries. Notably, Muslims exhibit a significantly high marriage migration rate; for instance, about half of British Muslims marry someone from their ancestral country of origin.  This trend could be rooted in the desire to marry within one's ethnicity or faith (endogamy preferences) or a pathway to gain residency in a developed country (migration gains). To shed light on this,  I develop a novel structural marriage matching model in which I embed the choice of marrying someone from the country of origin. I find that the high Muslim marriage migration rate is not mainly due to migration gains but rather the preference for endogamy, driven by the ease of finding partners who share the same ethnicity and religious background in the country of origin. Therefore, raising the costs of marriage migration by policymakers does not significantly impact inter-religious marriages. However, this leads to a reduced marriage surplus and a higher proportion of singles among Muslims.

Preference Shocks in the Marriage Market [Paper]

September 11th terrorist attack generated a negative sentiment towards Muslims in the United States. The rise in bias and discrimination affected the economic and social aspects of Muslims' lives. The intermarriage market as an unregulated market provides the opportunity to estimate the consequences of this discrimination. Therefore, in this chapter, I focus on the effect of 9/11 on the Muslim intermarriage market.  I decompose the impact into an extensive margin (impact on intermarriage rate) and an intensive margin (impact on intermarriage prices). The Current Population Survey data is used for the estimation. Results indicate a decrease of approximately 10\% in the rate of Muslims marrying non-Muslims after 9/11. Before this, Muslims tended to marry partners of lower educational attainment, while non-Muslims tended to marry partners with higher educational attainment. However, after 9/11, this vertical ordering disappears, transitioning through a more horizontal disutility from mixing, suggesting an increase in the disutility of intermarriage among Muslims.

Selected Works in Progress

Ethnic Segregation in Schools and Educational Attainment in the UK

The educational attainment gap among ethnic groups in the UK continues to persist, despite progress made in narrowing this gap over the past two decades. School segregation based on ethnicity may be one of the contributing factors. This paper estimates the influence of school segregation on educational outcomes for ethnic minorities while distinguishing it from neighborhood segregation. In the UK, school admissions are typically determined by catchment areas, which can undergo unpredictable changes on a yearly basis. Hence, individuals residing near the borders of school catchment areas encounter exogenous variations in their access to those schools. In this paper, I use a spatial regression discontinuity design to estimate the impact of access to a highly segregated school versus a school with greater diversity, leveraging variations in catchment areas. The data used for this study is the UK annual school census records spanning over 10 years, encompassing student grades across various key stages.

Local Labor Markets: The Impact of Ethnic Community Ties (with Rebecca Rose)

Monte et al. (2018) shows that the impact of a labor demand shock on local employment varies according to the level of commuting/moving openness in the local labor market.  Various ethnic groups exhibit different levels of willingness to relocate, influenced by their cultural values and community ties. The gender and ethnic variations in willingness to relocate can significantly influence how labor market shocks impact individuals.  By examining the regional variations in labor demand market shocks, we can determine how these shocks affect ethnic minorities differently due to their limited inclination to relocate. The dataset used for this study is the ASHE - Census 2011 linked dataset from the UK, offering comprehensive work job and individual characteristics.

Published Papers

Female Labor Participation in Iran: A Structural Model Estimation, 2020, Journal of Economics Studies, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 1-19  (with Mohammad Rahmati)  [Link]