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Community Leaders and the Preservation of Cultural Traits


We explain persistent differences in cultural traits of immigrant groups with the presence of community leaders. Leaders influence the cultural traits of their community, which have an impact on the group’s earnings. They determine whether a community will be more assimilated and wealthier or less assimilated and poorer. With a leader, cultural integration remains incomplete. The leader chooses more distinctive cultural traits in high-productivity environments and if the community is more connected. Lump-sum transfers to immigrants can hinder cultural integration. These findings are in line with integration patterns of various ethnic and religious groups.

JEL Classification: J15, Z10, D02.

Keywords: Cultural Integration, Cultural Transmission, Leadership, Immigrants, Labor Market Outcomes, Social Influence, Networks.


Suggested citation: Prummer, Anja, and Jan-Peter Siedlarek, 2015. “Community Leaders and the Preservation of Cultural Traits,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper no. 15-17.

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