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Transnational marriages among Muslim migrants in different integration regimes

Sarah Carol
University of Cologne
Sarah Carol
University of Cologne
Mareike Wagner
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Open Panel

Abstract

Marriage migration remains to be one of the most important channels to Western Europe. This paper aims to assess which factors determine Muslim migrants’ decisions for a spouse from the country of origin. To explain it, citizenship policies in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Belgium and France, the share of co-ethnics living in the place of residence as well as characteristics of the country of origin are taken into account on the context level. Moreover, individual attitudes towards gender equality, ethnic marriages and religiosity are considered. We postulate increased amounts of transnational marriages precisely there where migrants differ in their values and religiosity from co-ethnics to a certain extent. Furthermore, we expect the embeddedness into the ethnic network to have an impact on traditional marriage behaviour. By the share of migrants in the place of residence we measure the meeting opportunities and indirectly pressure from the ethnic group on marriage decisions. On the country level it is investigated to what extent changes in citizenship policies may be reflected in marriage behaviour and if less restrictive integration regimes lead to more transnational marriages as it is often assumed. Besides the host country policies we test whether migrants from rural and more conservative areas show greater solidarity towards people back home by marrying transnational. By choosing different Muslim groups (Turks, Moroccans and Pakistanis) we can test if this can also be attributed to dowry systems which encourage Turkish and Moroccan men and Pakistani women to bring over a spouse in order to save the dowry in exchange for the admittance to Europe. Moreover, our data allow us to control for arranged unions. Since official statistics often lack information on the second and in-between generation, we draw on data from the SCIICS survey with 9.700 cases and survey data from the EURISLAM project.