IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does immigration affect public education expenditures? Quasi-experimental evidence


  • Speciale, Biagio


This paper studies the impact of immigration on public education expenditures in EU-15 countries. Identification comes from the use of the 1990s Balkan wars (in Bosnia and Kosovo) as a source of exogenous variation in immigrant inflows to mitigate a possible Tiebout-type bias from endogenous mobility. An increase in foreign population is found to have a small negative effect on public education expenditures. The elasticity of education spending with respect to immigrant population share is −.15. The negative relationship between immigration and public spending on education is consistent with the empirical literature showing evidence on low levels of public good provision in heterogeneous and ethnic diverse societies.

Suggested Citation

  • Speciale, Biagio, 2012. "Does immigration affect public education expenditures? Quasi-experimental evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 773-783.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:9:p:773-783 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2012.04.004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Saul Lach, 2007. "Immigration and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 548-587, August.
    2. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2003. "Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-194, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Per-Anders Edin & Peter Fredriksson & Olof Åslund, 2003. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Economic Success of Immigrants—Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 329-357.
    6. Betts, Julian R. & Fairlie, Robert W., 2003. "Does immigration induce 'native flight' from public schools into private schools?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 987-1012, May.
    7. Davide, DOTTORI & I-Ling, SHEN, 2008. "Low-Skilled Immigration and th Expansion of Private Schools," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008023, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    8. repec:ulb:ulbeco:2013/13418 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Michel Beine & Fréderic Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2008. "Brain Drain and Human Capital Formation in Developing Countries: Winners and Losers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 631-652, April.
    10. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    11. La Ferrara, Eliana & Mele, Angelo, 2006. "Racial Segregation and Public School Expenditure," CEPR Discussion Papers 5750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Rachel M. Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact of Mass Migration on the Israeli Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1373-1408.
    13. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
    14. Brian Bell & Francesco Fasani & Stephen Machin, 2013. "Crime and Immigration: Evidence from Large Immigrant Waves," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1278-1290, October.
    15. Coen-Pirani, Daniele, 2011. "Immigration and spending on public education: California, 1970–2000," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1386-1396.
    16. Panu Poutvaara, 2008. "Public and Private Education in an Integrated Europe: Studying to Migrate and Teaching to Stay?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(3), pages 591-608, September.
    17. William F. Blankenau & Nicole B. Simpson & Marc Tomljanovich, 2007. "Public Education Expenditures, Taxation, and Growth: Linking Data to Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 393-397, May.
    18. Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the welfare magnet debate using the NLSY," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(3), pages 391-409.
    19. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
    20. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    21. Goldstein, G. S. & Pauly, M. V., 1981. "Tiebout bias on the demand for local public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 131-143, October.
    22. repec:wsi:wschap:9789814719902_0007 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Borjas, George J, 1999. "Immigration and Welfare Magnets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 607-637, October.
    24. Albert Saiz, 2003. "Room in the Kitchen for the Melting Pot: Immigration and Rental Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 502-521, August.
    25. David Card & Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2005. "Understanding attitudes to immigration: The migration and minority module of the first European Social Survey," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0503, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    26. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Pellizzari, Michele, 2009. "Welfare migration in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 353-363, August.
    27. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "The economic value of cultural diversity: evidence from US cities," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 7, pages 229-264 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    28. Joshua D. Angrist & Adriana D. Kugler, 2003. "Protective or counter-productive? labour market institutions and the effect of immigration on eu natives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(488), pages 302-331, June.
    29. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 2002. "Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 167-190, August.
    30. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    31. Justman, Moshe & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1997. "Implications of the mobility of skilled labor for local public funding of higher education," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 409-412, September.
    32. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
    33. Anna Piil Damm, 2009. "Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Labor Market Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 281-314, April.
    34. Joshua Angrist & Adriana Kugler, 2001. "Protective or Counter-Productive? European Labor Market Institutions and the Effect of Immigrants on EU Natives," NBER Working Papers 8660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    36. Rubinfeld, Daniel L & Shapiro, Perry & Roberts, Judith, 1987. "Tiebout Bias and the Demand for Local Public Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 426-437, August.
    37. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1998. "Openness, country size and government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 305-321, September.
    38. Turnbull, Geoffrey K & Mitias, Peter M, 1999. "The Median Voter Model across Levels of Government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 119-138, April.
    39. repec:ulb:ulbeco:2013/7748 is not listed on IDEAS
    40. Preston, Ian & Ridge, Michael, 1995. "Demand for Local Public Spending: Evidence from the British Social Attitudes Survey," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 644-660, May.
    41. Neeraj Kaushal, 2005. "New Immigrants' Location Choices: Magnets without Welfare," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 59-80, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jakobsson, Niklas & Tengstam, Sven, 2014. "Does immigration affect welfare state generosity? Quasi-experimental evidence," Working Papers in Economics 599, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Marcus H. Böhme & Sarah Kups, 2017. "The economic effects of labour immigration in developing countries: A literature review," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 335, OECD Publishing.
    3. Farré, Lídia & Ortega, Francesc & Tanaka, Ryuichi, 2015. "Immigration and School Choices in the Midst of the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 9234, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro & Javier Vázquez-Grenno, 2016. "Immigration and local spending in social services: evidence from a massive immigration wave," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(6), pages 1004-1029, December.
    5. Luca Marchiori & Patrice Pieretti & Benteng Zou, 2014. "Immigration, occupational choice and public employment," CREA Discussion Paper Series 14-15, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    6. J. Atsu Amegashie & Michael Batu, 2015. "Wider Boundaries: The Welfare State and International Remittances," CESifo Working Paper Series 5456, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Tanaka, Ryuichi & Farré, Lídia & Ortega, Francesc, 2014. "Immigration, Naturalization, and the Future of Public Education," IZA Discussion Papers 8342, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Brunner, Eric J. & Johnson, Erik B., 2016. "Intergenerational conflict and the political economy of higher education funding," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 73-87.
    9. Murard, Elie, 2017. "Less Welfare or Fewer Foreigners? Immigrant Inflows and Public Opinion towards Redistribution and Migration Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 10805, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    Immigration; Public spending on education; Tiebout-type bias; Quasi-experimental evidence;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:9:p:773-783. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.