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Immigrating to Opportunity: Estimating The Effect of School Quality Using a Natural Experiment On Ethiopians in Israel

  • Eric Gould
  • Victor Lavy
  • Daniele M. Paserman

In May 1991 fifteen thousand Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in an overnight airlift and sorted in a haphazard and essentially random fashion to absorption centers across the country. This quasi-random assignment produced a natural experiment whereby the initial schooling environment of Ethiopian children can be considered exogenous to their family background and parental decisions. We examine the extent to which the initial elementary school environment affected the high school outcomes o f Ethiopian children, using administrative panel data on the educational career of each child in Israel through much of the 1990s. The results show that the early schooling environment has an important effect on high school dropout rates, repetition rates, and the passing rate on matriculation exams necessary to enter college. The results are robust to using alternative measures of the schooling environment and to the inclusion of community fixed effects, which suggests that aspects of the e lementary school itself are important for high school success. © 2004 MIT Press

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 119 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 489-526

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:2:p:489-526
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