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The effect of immigrant peers in vocational schools

Author

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  • Frattini, Tommaso
  • Meschi, Elena

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on how the presence of immigrant peers in the classroom affects native student achievement. The analysis is based on longitudinal administrative data on two cohorts of vocational training students in Italy's largest region. Vocational training institutions provide the ideal setting for studying these effects because they attract not only disproportionately high shares of immigrants but also the lowest ability native students. We adopt a value added model, and exploit within-school variation both within and across cohorts for identification. Our results show small negative average effects on maths test scores that are larger for low ability native students, strongly non-linear and only observable in classes with a high (top 20%) immigrant concentration. These outcomes are driven by classes with a high average linguistic distance between immigrants and natives, with no apparent additional role played by ethnic diversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Frattini, Tommaso & Meschi, Elena, 2018. "The effect of immigrant peers in vocational schools," CEPR Discussion Papers 13305, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13305
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; ethnic diversity; Immigration; linguistic distance; peer effects;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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