Immigrant integration is key to realizing the potential of international migration in economic development. However, integration is often thought to be hampered by immigrants' limited social networks beyond their co-ethnics. We study how contact with natives affects immigrants' social and economic outcomes through a field experiment. We have partnered with an NGO in Sweden that annually matches over one thousand pairs of native Swedes and immigrants for informal meeting to promote new social connections and facilitate integration. Using an RCT and a combination of survey and administrative register data, we will study how such matches with native Swedes affect immigrants' social relations and values, and whether they lead to better labor and housing market outcomes via access to information or referrals. We will also examine changes in immigrants' attachment to their country of origin and remittances to family and friends outside Sweden.
Journal of Development Economics
Social Networks and Immigrant Integration: Experimental Evidence from Sweden