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Ethnic Mixing in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment and a Structural Model

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  • Zenou, Yves
  • Boucher, Vincent
  • Tumen, Semih
  • Vlassopoulos, Michael
  • Wahba, Jackline

Abstract

We study the social integration of ethnic minority children in the context of an early childhood program conducted in Turkey aimed at preparing 5-year-old native and Syrian refugee children for primary school. We randomly assign children to groups with varying ethnic composition and find that exposure to children of the other ethnicity leads to an increase in the formation of interethnic friendships, especially for Turkish children. We also find that the Turkish language skills of Syrian children are better developed in classes with a larger presence of Turkish children. We then develop a model of friendship formation with two key mechanisms: preference bias and congestion in the friendship formation process. Structural estimation of the model suggests that interethnic exposure reduces the share of own-ethnicity friends (homophily) and has anon-monotonic effect on the propensity to form own-ethnicity friendships beyond what would be expected given the size of the group (inbreeding homophily). Counterfactual analysis indicates that improvement in the language skills of Syrian children can offset more than half of the effect that ethnic bias has on friendship formation patterns. Finally, we find that for Syrian children exposure to Turkish children in the pre-school program has a long-term effect on primary school absenteeism

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  • Zenou, Yves & Boucher, Vincent & Tumen, Semih & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Wahba, Jackline, 2020. "Ethnic Mixing in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment and a Structural Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 15528, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15528
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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Paolo Merlino & Max Friedrich Steinhardt & Wren-Lewis Liam, 2022. "The long run impact of childhood interracial contact on residential segregation," Working Papers halshs-03754124, HAL.
    2. Zenou, Yves & Biavaschi, Costanza & Giulietti, Corrado, 2021. "Social Networks and (Political) Assimilation in the Age of Mass Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 16182, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Tumen, Semih & Vlassopoulos, Michael & Wahba, Jackline, 2021. "Training Teachers for Diversity Awareness: Impact on School Attendance of Refugee Children," IZA Discussion Papers 14557, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Nakagawa, Mariko & Sato, Yasuhiro & Tabuchi, Takatoshi & Yamamoto, Kazuhiro, 2022. "Do people accept different cultures?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    5. Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Khanna, Gaurav & Marino, Victoria & Tumen, Semih, 2024. "Hometown Conflict and Refugees' Integration Efforts," IZA Discussion Papers 16862, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Höckel, Lisa Sofie & Schilling, Pia, 2022. "Starting off on the right foot: Language learning classes and the educational success of immigrant children," Ruhr Economic Papers 983, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Zenou, Yves & Itoh, Ryo & Sato, Yasuhiro, 2021. "Intergenerational Assimilation of Minorities: The Role of the Majority Group," CEPR Discussion Papers 16830, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Refugees; Social cohesion; Contact theory; Social Networks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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