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Can ethnic diversity have a positive effect on school achievement?

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  • Maestri, Virginia

Abstract

While the share of non-native students in a class is supposed to have a non positive effect on school achievement, little is said about the heterogeneity of the ethnic minority make-up. Ethnic diversity can stimulate the creativity of students, can push them to be proficient in the instructional language, can reduce the scope of ethnic identification with all its possible drawbacks, but it may also worsen social interactions among pupils and make the job of teachers more difficult. I exploit the within school cohort variation in ethnic diversity of a rich data-set about primary education in the Netherlands to investigate whether ethnic diversity matters for school achievement, for whom it matters and which can be the mechanisms it may generate. I find that ethnic diversity has a positive impact on the test scores of minority students, in particular for language skills. I also find some evidence of a negative relationship between ethnic diversity and school social interaction among pupils.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 31547.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision: Apr 2011
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:31547

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Related research

Keywords: ethnic diversity; education; peer effects;

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References

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  1. Eric D. Gould & Victor Lavy & M. Daniele Paserman, 2009. "Does Immigration Affect the Long-Term Educational Outcomes of Natives? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1243-1269, October.
  2. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Card, David & Rothstein, Jesse, 2007. "Racial segregation and the black-white test score gap," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2158-2184, December.
  6. Gibbons, Stephen & Silva, Olmo, 2011. "School quality, child wellbeing and parents' satisfaction," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 312-331, April.
  7. Edward P. Lazear, 1998. "Diversity and Immigration," NBER Working Papers 6535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. "New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 349-383, 07.
  9. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Paul Torelli, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 11334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Dronkers, Jaap, 2010. "Positive but also negative effects of ethnic diversity in schools on educational performance? An empirical test using cross-national PISA data," MPRA Paper 25598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Deborah Nusche, 2009. "What Works in Migrant Education?: A Review of Evidence and Policy Options," OECD Education Working Papers 22, OECD Publishing.
  14. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Sjaak Braster & Jaap Dronkers, 2013. "The positive effects of ethnic diversity in class on the educational performance of pupils in a multi-ethnic European metropole," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1318, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Asako Ohinata & Jan C. van Ours, 2013. "Spillover effects of studying with immigrant students; a quantile regression approach," Discussion Papers in Economics 13/23, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.

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