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Naturalization proclivities, ethnicity and integration

Klaus F. Zimmermann (Bonn University, Bonn, Germany, IZA, Bonn, Germany, and DIW Berlin, Berlin, Germany)
Amelie F. Constant (DIW DC, Washington, DC, USA, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA, and IZA, Bonn, Germany)
Liliya Gataullina (IZA, Bonn, Germany)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 27 March 2009




The purpose of this paper is to study the determinants of naturalization of non‐EU immigrant household heads with a fresh look at the role of integration and ethnicity.


Employing data on immigrant household heads from the German Socioeconomic Panel differentiation is made among those who already have been naturalized, those who plan to take citizenship, and those who do not have citizenship and do not want it, using multinomial probit models. The subject scope includes literature on naturalization, ethnicity, and integration.


A robust finding is that German citizenship is very valuable to female immigrant household heads and the generally better educated, but not to those educated in Germany. The degree of integration into German society has a differential effect on citizenship acquisition. While a longer residence in Germany has a negative influence on actual or future naturalization, arriving at a younger age and having close German friends are strong indicators of a positive proclivity to citizenship acquisition. Likewise, ethnic origins and religion also influence these decisions. Muslim immigrants in Germany are more willing to become German citizens than non‐Muslim immigrants, but there are also fewer German citizens among Muslims than among non‐Muslims.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should also investigate the second‐generation naturalization proclivities and those of illegals.

Practical implications

Allowing for dual citizenship helps generate more naturalizations among Muslims.


The paper provides a test of the relative importance of the integration approach in comparison with the ethnicity model; demonstrating that integration in German society has a stronger effect on naturalization than ethnic origin and religion.



Zimmermann, K.F., Constant, A.F. and Gataullina, L. (2009), "Naturalization proclivities, ethnicity and integration", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 30 No. 1/2, pp. 70-82.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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