Health and Well-being of Children of Interethnic Unions in the UK: Evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study
Political and Social Sciences European University Institute Florence, Italy
Drawing on social capital theory, this research hypothesises that interethnic partnership enhances bridging social capital of children of immigrants, which in turn facilitates their access to socioeconomic resources in a destination country. Previous studies on labour market outcomes of intermarried immigrants found that those who are intermarried have higher earnings and achieve better socioeconomic positions than their non-intermarried counterparts (Meng and Gregory 2005; Meng and Meurs 2006; Muttarak 2007). Here we raise a further question whether this intermarriage premium also applies to their offspring.
In this study, "interethnic partnership" refers to partnerships (marriage or cohabitation) between a native spouse and an immigrant. "Native" refers to a member of the majority population in a country with non-immigrant background. "Immigrant" refers to a first or second generation immigrant whose parents were born abroad.
The empirical analysis is based on the Millennium Cohort Study 2000 - 2006, which is a longitudinal survey of approximately 18,800 children born in 2000 in Britain. Assuming that a native parent can provide access and information for their children in a host country, health (e.g. health care usage and health status) is used as an indicator of well-being. We aim to compare whether children of interethnic unions have better health outcomes than second generation children whose parents have immigrant background.
We focus on the outcomes of children rather than adults to tackle causality problems in two ways. First, being born in and living in a destination country, the children presumably should have equal access to destination country institutions as the native population. Then, we can observe whether any ethnic inequalities are due to differences in social capital and cultural practices. Secondly, we can avoid the endogeneity problem of children´s well-being affecting social capital. Generally, an individual?s attributes such as socioeconomic attainment or health can also influence their social capital accumulation. Yet, in case of children, their characteristics are unlikely to influence parental social capital except in some extreme cases. Longitudinal data are therefore appropriate for this analysis because of their longitudinal nature and comprehensive information on parental inputs and interactions with children that is available.