Transnationalism and integration: Complements or Substitutes?

Bram Dekker & Melissa Siegel


This paper investigates the relationship between transnational practices and integration by testing whether they are substitutes or complements. For this purpose, we use a multidimensional transnationalism index. The index includes three dimensions of transnational practices, including migrants' economic, political, and socio-cultural transnational practices. These three dimensions and their aggregated index are then compared to both structural and socio-cultural integration. The analysis is based on data from 815 migrant households in the Netherlands, gathered among first generation migrants from Morocco, Burundi, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. Our results show that both structural and socio-cultural integration provides tentative support for the complementary typology. Lack of resources is significantly associated with transnationalism, but does not act as a moderator of the integration-transnationalism relationship. Among the four migrant groups studied in this paper, being multi-dimensionally transnational is associated with better structural and socio-cultural integration showing a complementary relationship. Implications for policy are discussed.

JEL Classification: F22, Z1

Key words: migration, transnational migrants, integration, the Netherlands, transnational practices

Download the working paper