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

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  • Gould, Eric D
  • Lavy, Victor
  • Paserman, M. Daniele

Abstract

In May 1991, 15,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in an overnight airlift and sorted in a haphazard and essentially random fashion to absorption centres 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 of 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 school environment has an important effect on high school dropout and repetition rates and on end-of-high-school matriculation exams. The results are robust to controlling for observable characteristics of the community, suggesting that characteristics of the elementary school itself, such as the quality of instruction and peer effects, are important for high school success.

Suggested Citation

  • Gould, Eric D & Lavy, Victor & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2003. "Immigrating to Opportunity: Estimating the Effect of School Quality Using a Natural Experiment on Ethiopians in Israel," CEPR Discussion Papers 4052, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4052
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    dropout rates; immigrant absorption; natural experiment; peer effects; school quality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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