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Migration Policy Can Boost PISA Results: Findings from a Natural Experiment

  • Cattaneo, Maria Alejandra

    ()

    (Swiss Co-ordination Center for Research in Education)

  • Wolter, Stefan C.

    ()

    (University of Bern)

Switzerland radically changed its migration policy in the mid-nineties from a "non-qualified only" policy to one that favors the immigration of highly qualified migrants. To analyze the impact of this change on the schooling outcomes of migrants, this paper compares the PISA (OECD Programme for International Student Assessment) results from 2000, which were not yet affected by the change in the migration policy, with the PISA 2009 test. Using a Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition analysis, we find that almost 70% of the 43-point increase (more than one standardized school year) in the PISA scores of first-generation immigrant students in an environment with stagnant Swiss PISA results was due to changes in the individual background characteristics of the new immigrants (direct effect) and improved school composition (lower shares of students who did not speak the testing languages as an indirect effect). The indirect effects also indicate that internationally comparative analyses should more fully consider differences in national migration policies when assessing the success of migrant integration.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6300.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6300
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  1. Entorf, Horst & Tatsi, Eirini, 2009. "Migrants at School: Educational Inequality and Social Interaction in the UK and Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 4175, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Entorf, Horst & Lauk, Martina, 2007. "Peer effects, social multipliers and migrants at school: An international comparison," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 57, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  3. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Mathias Sinning & Steven Stillman, 2011. "Migrant Youths' Educational Achievement: The Role of Institutions," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n25, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
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  7. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  8. Victor Lavy & Olmo Silva & Felix Weinhardt, 2009. "The Good, the Bad and the Average: Evidence on the Scale and Nature of Ability Peer Effects in Schools," NBER Working Papers 15600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Asako Ohinata & Jan C van Ours, 2012. "How immigrant children affect the academic achievement of native Dutch children," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012012, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  10. Meunier, Muriel, 2011. "Immigration and student achievement: Evidence from Switzerland," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 16-38, February.
  11. Nicole Schneeweis, 2011. "Educational institutions and the integration of migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 1281-1308, October.
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