Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Arnout van de Rijt
For an immigrant, the American Dream is to achieve economic well-being and a good quality of life through hard work, entrepreneurship, and perseverance. It is the driving force behind most immigration, and its realization is the achievement dimension of the incorporation process. A main topic addressed in immigration literature is the high variance of intragen-erational mobility. Why do some immigrants advance quickly while others remain at the bottom end of the economic ladder? Essentially, incorporation along one dimension speeds up incorporation along another. For example, better command of the native tongue allows for better-paying jobs that involve day-to-day use of the native tongue, which in turn enhance language improvement. This mechanism, together with others, gives rise to two incorporation tracks: a fast and a stationary one. As a result, incorporation outcomes, particularly achievement, tend to be dichotomous. Another mechanism is the one that causes growing income inequality in any capitalist ...