Dafeng Xu, Cornell University
Using social networking data, this paper studies the effect of efforts for cultural assimilation on Chinese students' school choices when applying for U.S. graduate schools. I use English-name usage to measure assimilation efforts among Chinese college students. The identification strategy is based on a natural experiment: the difficulty of pronouncing the original Chinese name in English is an exogenous predictor of English-name usage. I find that, overall, there is no effect of English-name usage on the tier of the graduate school attended. However, English-name usage affects the interaction between the school tier and geographic characteristics: English-name usage is positively associated with attendance of top-tier schools in areas that are traditionally ``less chosen'' by Asian immigrants, which are defined based on local demographic characteristics. The results suggest the possible role of cultural assimilation in making joint school-location choices when students take both academic pursuits and geographic preferences into consideration.
Presented in Session 27. Migrant assimilation