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Can ethnic diversity have a positive effect on school achievement?

  • Maestri, Virginia

While the share of non-native students in a class is supposed to have a non positive effect on school achievement, little is said about the heterogeneity of the ethnic minority make-up. Ethnic diversity can stimulate the creativity of students, can push them to be proficient in the instructional language, can reduce the scope of ethnic identification with all its possible drawbacks, but it may also worsen social interactions among pupils and make the job of teachers more difficult. I exploit the within school cohort variation in ethnic diversity of a rich data-set about primary education in the Netherlands to investigate whether ethnic diversity matters for school achievement, for whom it matters and which can be the mechanisms it may generate. I find that ethnic diversity has a positive impact on the test scores of minority students, in particular for language skills. I also find some evidence of a negative relationship between ethnic diversity and school social interaction among pupils.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 31547.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision: Apr 2011
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:31547
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  1. Gould, Eric D & Lavy, Victor & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2005. "Does Immigration Affect the Long-Term Educational Outcomes of Natives? Quasi-Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 5439, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Edward P. Lazear, 1998. "Diversity and Immigration," NBER Working Papers 6535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David Card & Jesse Rothstein, 2006. "Racial Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap," NBER Working Papers 12078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Stephen Gibbons & Olmo Silva, 2009. "School quality, child wellbeing and parents' satisfaction," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 23654, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Victor Lavy & Analia Schlosser, 2011. "Mechanisms and Impacts of Gender Peer Effects at School," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-33, April.
  8. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. "New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 349-383, 07.
  9. Dronkers, Jaap, 2010. "Positive but also negative effects of ethnic diversity in schools on educational performance? An empirical test using cross-national PISA data," MPRA Paper 25598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Paul Torelli, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 11334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
  12. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
  13. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Deborah Nusche, 2009. "What Works in Migrant Education?: A Review of Evidence and Policy Options," OECD Education Working Papers 22, OECD Publishing.
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