Modeling Immigrant Language Acquisition and Integration: Toward an Integrated Micro-Macro Modeling
This thesis aims to address the following key question: “What affects immigrants to acquire capital and how is it generated?” This can be addressed by the following: (1) identifying micro-level determinants of immigrant language acquisition and integration; (2) assessing macro-level effects and micro-macro joint effects on immigrant language acquisition; and (3) reassessing the overall empirical findings based on theoretically derived micro-macro interactive mechanisms in the integration process.
The research literature concerned with the determinants of immigrant/second language acquisition is reviewed to bring classic theories and models from economics and psychology together and initiate the construction of an economic-psychological modeling frame for immigrant language acquisition. Based on the modeling frame, an empirically testable model of immigrant language acquisition is formulated to identify the determinants of destination language proficiency. Furthermore, conceptually locating language as an antecedent of immigrant integration outcomes in a theoretical modeling framework, a model of immigrant integration is devised with three sub-models: (1) a model of immigrant economic integration; (2) a model of immigrant citizenship acquisition; and (3) a model of immigrant political integration. The models are tested using OLS regression and data from the Multicultural Democracy and Immigrants’ Social Capital in Europe: Participation, Organisational Networks, and Public Policies at the Local Level (LOCALMULTIDEM).
Analysis results suggest that the economic model is robust in predicting immigrant language acquisition and integration outcomes. Educational attainment is found to be the most critical and consistent predictor of outcomes across cities and empirical models. Although the psychological model has relatively weak power in explaining the variation in language proficiency, the presumed mediating effect via attitudinal factors is detected in some cases. However, such mediation effect is barely identified in the sub-models of immigrant integration with an exception of political integration. Destination language proficiency is found to be the most consistent mediator that positively influences all of the integration outcomes. In the concluding chapters, further analyses and (re)interpretations are conducted as an overarching summary of the multivariate regression analyses to examine the role of institutions and propose a micro-macro integrative model that could suggest options for institutional design and directions for future research.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Miko has traveled far and wide. Most recently, she was based in Europe to carry out her research on immigrant language acquisition and integration and be trained in quantitative research designs and modeling techniques. This training later led her to be part of an international research team at a Cyprus-based think-tank (SeeD/SCORE). As a data analyst, she analyzed large-sample survey data and helped partners and stakeholders interpret the analysis results to design evidence-based interventions in conflict-affected contexts.
Before moving to Europe, Miko spent more than a decade in South Korea, where she studied to become a language specialist. After coming to the realization of how powerful communication can be in settling disputes and promoting collaborations, she tried to serve as a communication channel between/among different entities—corporations, governments, and individuals. She also gained experience in customer relationship management and human resources management at a multinational corporation, as well as in executive education content and program development at a corporate management consulting firm.
She received a Ph.D. in Political and Social Sciences from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles and LUISS Guido Carli of Rome. She also holds a MPP in Public Management, a MA in Japanese-Korean Translation and Interpretation, and a BA in English. Apart from her mother tongue, Japanese, she is fluent in English and Korean. Her current research interests revolve around verbal and nonverbal communication, holistic human development, and social system designs and designing methods. Outside of researching, you are most likely to find Miko walking through fashion streets or wondering in well-designed and decorated spaces. She also spends a fair amount of time in museums, art galleries, concert halls, and theaters.