Claire Adida, David Laitin, and Marie-Anne Valfort respond to my review

This is in the comments section at MR, in my view an authorial response to a negative review should not be buried, so here it is:

Dear Tyler,

Thank you for taking the time to read our book and blog about it. We take your review and critique seriously, and understand that our title – which generalizes beyond France to “Christian-heritage societies” – might appear to some as a bit of a reach.

Nonetheless, we have two responses to your review. First, any frank discussion of external validity should, in our mind, address the reasons why the scope might be limited. As we explain in Parts I and II of our book, our challenge was to identify whether we could say anything at all about Muslim integration. Our belief is that work to date cannot, because it confounds discrimination due to religion with discrimination due to region-of-origin. Our book’s primary contribution is to isolate the religious factor. To do so, we had to study a specific group of immigrants who hail from the same country, who migrated at the same time and in the same way, and who differ only in their religious membership. None of the examples you cite – Pakistanis or Bosnians in America – offer such a counterfactual. We therefore cannot evaluate how well those groups have integrated due to, or in spite of, their religious membership.

Second, your critique of our efforts at generalizability ignores our analysis of the European Social Survey, a representative sample of respondents in 17 Western European countries; this analysis corroborates our claim that there is a Muslim disadvantage to integration in Christian-heritage societies. Finally, your focus on a single indicator in the Detroit Arab-American Study – “Proud to be an American” – ignores the relevant point we have tried to make, which is that on a number of different measures and in a number of different contexts, the pattern consistently points toward the same direction: that Muslim immigrants, relative to comparable Christian immigrants, integrate less, and that this situation does not improve over time. It is this pattern, not any single difference on any single indicator, that we find disconcerting.

Thank you, again, for your thoughts and consideration. Best, Claire Adida, David Laitin and Marie-Anne Valfort

My initial review of their book on Muslim integration in Christian heritage societies was here.


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