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Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Undergraduates

Author

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  • George J. Borjas

Abstract

The large literature that analyzes the impact of immigration on the United States typically focuses on measuring the labor market and fiscal consequences. This literature, however, has ignored the impact of immigration on other sectors of society. One sector that is of great interest is the American university, where the share of nonresident aliens in the graduate student population rose from 5.5 percent in 1976 to 10.5 percent in 1996. Despite the rapid growth in the number of foreign students, little is known about their impact on the educational process. Nevertheless, undergraduates frequently complain that the lack of English language proficiency among many foreign-born Teaching Assistants affects adversely their understanding of the material. This paper addresses the question that is at the heart of these complaints: Do foreign-born teaching assistants have an adverse impact on the scholastic achievement of American undergraduates? To provide empirical evidence on this issue, I use data drawn from a survey of undergraduates enrolled in economics principles classes at a large public university. The data suggest that foreign-born Teaching Assistants have an adverse impact on the class performance of undergraduate students.
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Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas, 2000. "Foreign-Born Teaching Assistants and the Academic Performance of Undergraduates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 355-359, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:2:p:355-359
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.2.355
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.90.2.355
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Spilimbergo, 2009. "Democracy and Foreign Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 528-543, March.
    2. Lester Lusher & Doug Campbell & Scott Carrell, 2015. "TAs Like Me: Racial Interactions between Graduate Teaching Assistants and Undergraduates," NBER Working Papers 21568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Florian Hoffmann & Philip Oreopoulos, 2009. "Professor Qualities and Student Achievement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 83-92, February.
    4. Philip Yang, 2015. "The impact of music on educational attainment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(4), pages 369-396, November.
    5. William W. Olney, 2017. "English Proficiency And Labor Market Performance: Evidence From The Economics Profession," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(1), pages 202-222, January.
    6. Maria De Paola, 2009. "Does Teacher Quality Affect Student Performance? Evidence From An Italian University," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 353-377, October.
    7. Ehrenberg, R.G.Ronald G., 2004. "Econometric studies of higher education," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 19-37.
    8. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Parker, Amy, 2005. "Beauty in the classroom: instructors' pulchritude and putative pedagogical productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 369-376, August.
    9. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2015. "Does Immigration Affect Whether US Natives Major in Science and Engineering?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 79-108.
    10. Eric Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2004. "Do College Instructors Matter? The Effects of Adjuncts and Graduate Assistants on Students' Interests and Success," NBER Working Papers 10370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Long, Bridget Terry & Taylor, Eric S., 2016. "When inputs are outputs: The case of graduate student instructorsAuthor-Name: Bettinger, Eric P," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 63-76.
    12. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2005. "Do Faculty Serve as Role Models? The Impact of Instructor Gender on Female Students," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 152-157, May.
    13. Melania Salazar-Ordóñez & Carlos García-Alonso & Gabriel Perez-Alcalá, 2011. "Wage Gaps And Migrantion Costs: An Analysis From Simulation Data," ERSA conference papers ersa11p347, European Regional Science Association.
    14. Sam Allgood & William B. Walstad & John J. Siegfried, 2015. "Research on Teaching Economics to Undergraduates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(2), pages 285-325, June.
    15. Daniel Hamermesh & Amy M. Parker, 2003. "Beauty in the Classroom: Professors' Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity," NBER Working Papers 9853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Foster, Gigi, 2012. "The impact of international students on measured learning and standards in Australian higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 587-600.
    17. George J. Borjas, 2004. "Do Foreign Students Crowd Out Native Students from Graduate Programs?," NBER Working Papers 10349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Furtado, Delia & Hock, Heinrich, 2008. "Immigrant Labor, Child-Care Services, and the Work-Fertility Trade-Off in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3506, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Heinrich Hock & Delia Furtado, 2009. "Female Work and Fertility in the United States: Effects of Low-Skilled Immigrant Labor," Working papers 2009-20, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    20. Seah, Kelvin, 2016. "Immigrant Educators and Students' Academic Achievement," IZA Discussion Papers 10032, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2004. "Prospects in the Academic Labor Market for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 227-238, Spring.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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