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Ethnic Discrimination in Education: The Swiss Case

  • Philipp Bauer
  • George Sheldon

    ()

    (University of Basel)

This paper investigates the role that discrimination plays in the educational marginalization of foreign youth commonly observed in European countries with a long guestworker tradition. Economic theory offers two basic explanations for discrimination of this form: taste-based discrimination arising from personal prejudices and statistical discrimination stemming from ability uncertainty. Which theory applies in reality has important policy implications. If taste-based discrimination is the source of ethnic segregation, then measures to eliminate prejudice are required to promote integration; whereas if statistical discrimination is the cause, then better measures of ability are needed. Using Switzerland as a case study, we provide evidence that statistical discrimination is the source of ethnic segregation in schooling. Further we find that teachers generally do not grade foreign youth differently than native students. This result runs counter to previous research which suggests that disadvantaged pupils are graded more leniently.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel in its series Working papers with number 2008/07.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2008/07
Contact details of provider: Postal: Peter-Merian-Weg 6, Postfach, CH-4002 Basel
Web page: http://wwz.unibas.ch

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  1. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical theories of discrimination in labor markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
  2. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  3. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2005. "Does Educational Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-in-Differences Evidence across Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1415, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  5. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "The Complementarity of Language and Other Human Capital: Immigrant Earnings in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 451, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. John Yinger, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Consumer Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 23-40, Spring.
  7. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  8. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
  9. Victor Lavy, 2004. "Do Gender Stereotypes Reduce Girls' Human Capital Outcomes? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bauer, Philipp & Riphahn, Regina T., 2006. "Timing of school tracking as a determinant of intergenerational transmission of education," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 90-97, April.
  11. Helen F. Ladd, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 41-62, Spring.
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