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December 02, 2009


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Wow, I don't even know what to say about this (non)finding. I think it's very interesting that cultural assimilation occurs differently in Venezuela than it does in the US. I guess it could be related to the fact that the US is country built by immigrants, literally. Whereas, you describe Venezuela experiencing waves at different times. I am assuming that there is a much stronger cultural identity in Venezuela - maybe because you find fewer people who have a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who immigrated there. Very interesting, indeed...

The wealthier environs of Caracas are filled with people with non-Spanish last names. So are the not-as-wealthy environs of Maracaibo. All of Venezuela, however, is filled with people with non-Spanish first names; I've never quite understood that.

It's true that Venezuela doesn't think of itself as an immigrant country, and the big Colombian-origin population is basically ignored, although the recent tensions between the two countries have made it a little harder to pretend that it doesn't exist. Of course, Colombian migration to Venezuela is more akin to American migration to Canada, culturally-speaking. Of course, cultural similarities don't prevent conflict: El Salvador and Honduras went to war in 1969 over the treatment of Salvadorean migrants in Honduras.

I don't know whether I'd say having a "thick" culture and small numbers of immigrants promotes or retards assimilation. I can imagine it going either way, depending on whether the society was really prepared to accept the immigrants and their children as full legitimate members.

Also, assimilation (at least to political norms) works differently for different groups. Mexican-Americans, for example, looked to be assimilating to the American norm ... until the Republican Party decided to embrace (or at least not reject) its nativist branch. First in California, then nationally. Now Mexican-Americans vote disproportionately Democratic even after taking education, income, marital status, and location into account.

That sort of experience can have intergenerational effects, even if the group in question assimilates fully in all other respects, including intermarriage.

Ach. Rambling. Being sick does that. Anyway, welcome! Mind if I ask what your husband does that is taking you to Caracas?

I was just glancing at the Rodríguez-Wagner paper, and with that caveat, doesn't it seem that their "Hypothesis 2" was flawed from the start? "The idea that a Northern Italian origin makes people, ceteris paribus, less attracted by populist redistribution" would be the exact opposite from starting hypothesis I'd suspect the data to bear out (and be equally disabused of, I'd note).

Southern Italian immigrants would have come from the old DC's heartland, while the northerners would have mostly (but not exclusively) come from the famous "Red Quadrilateral" (Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria and The Marche), so I would have expected them to start from the assumption that the northerners would be, ceteris paribus, attracted to populist redistribution. And yes, I know, Italian politics had a less to do with ideology than that (PCI as the party of the small businessman, DC as the ultimate party of pork), but still.

As I read it, Figure 4 presents some data that justifies the null hypothesis, no?

Hi there,
I am an Italian Venezuelan. The discusion is very interesting. I can tell you guys that in my family our values, culture and way of living follows that of our italian ascendents. and that is split voting. My grandma' was a democrat and my grandpa was a Socialist. We are from the south of Italia -Calabria region - and yes there are lots of heated discusions about politics in our family. At the end - we love eachother and enjoy a good bottle of wine. -

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