Essays on Transnational and Interethnic Mate Selection in Germany

Research question/goal: 

This project investigates in how far cultural factors determine the preference of migrants in Europe for a partner from the own ethnic group, from the receiving or even from the sending country, over a native partner, and the differences in mate selection patterns between ethnic groups. Previous studies tried to explain differences within and between ethnic groups mostly with differences in socio-economic and structural characteristics, but were unable to explain them completely. We assume that additionally cultural factors like language skills, traditional and ethnic values, religion and its associated norms play an important role in mate selection, but also the family exerts influence. This project consists of three sub-projects each focusing on separate aspects.One sub-project aimed at investigating the importance of such cultural factors with help of the value-expectancy theory and the SOEP data. After concluding the data preparation the venture unfortunately had to be discontinued due to too few cases.Another subproject analyzes the parental influence on mate selection. Parents can exert indirect influence by putting pressure on their children or when the children meet potential partner via the familiar network. Additionally parents also influence mate selection directly via socialization. They function as role models (social learning), transmit values to their offspring (cultural reproduction), and impact their social positioning. For the empirical analyses data from the study “The Integration of the European Second Generation (TIES)” for Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, and Austria was edited. The datasets contain information about young adults of Turkish, Moroccan, and Ex-Yugoslavian origin. It is currently being analyzed. First results seem to confirm the assumed parental influence on mate selection.The third sub-project is devoted to the willingness of the native population to enter an interethnic relationship. It might be that the prevalent partner choice patterns are at least partially due to natives’ prejudices towards some ethnicities. The literature review for this sub-project has been conducted.The work on this project was interrupted for a year due to parental leave. The project will be continued outside of the MZES.

Fact sheet

2010 to 2013