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Is Child Like Parent? Educational Attainment and Ethnic Origin


  • Ira N. Gang

    () (Rutgers University)

  • Klaus F. Zimmermann

    () (IZA, Bonn University and CEPR, London)


The speed at which immigrants assimilate is the subject of debate. Human capital formation plays a major role in this discussion. This paper compares the educational attainment of second generation immigrants to those of natives in the same age cohort. Evidence using a large German data set suggests ethnicity does matter: the size of the ethnic network has a positive effect on educational attainment, and a clear pattern is exhibited between countries-of-origin and educational attainment even in the second generation. For the children of the foreign-born, parental schooling plays no role in making educational choices. However, for Germans, contrary to the general findings in the literature, there is a statistically significant difference in favor of father´s education over mother's education.

Suggested Citation

  • Ira N. Gang & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 1999. "Is Child Like Parent? Educational Attainment and Ethnic Origin," Departmental Working Papers 199614, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:199614

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 1994. "The determinants of post-immigration investments in education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 163-177, June.
    2. Ira N. Gang & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2000. "Is Child like Parent? Educational Attainment and Ethnic Origin," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 550-569.
    3. Stapleton, David C & Young, Douglas J, 1988. "Educational Attainment and Cohort Size," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 330-361, July.
    4. Pradhan, Menno, 1998. "Enrolment and Delayed Enrolment of Secondary School Age Children in Indonesia," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(4), pages 413-430, November.
    5. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Felix Büchel & Gert G. Wagner, 1997. "Assimilation and Other Determinants of School Attainment in Germany: Do Immigrant Children Perform as Well as Germans?," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 66(1), pages 169-179.
    6. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 1995. "Tackling the European Migration Problems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 45-62, Spring.
    7. Gertler, Paul & Glewwe, Paul, 1992. "The Willingness to Pay for Education for Daughters in Contrast to Sons: Evidence from Rural Peru," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(1), pages 171-188, January.
    8. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
    9. Ira N. Gang, 1997. "Schooling, Parents and Country," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 66(1), pages 180-186.
    10. Glomm, Gerhard, 1997. "Parental choice of human capital investment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 99-114, June.
    11. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    12. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "The Effect of Age at School Entry on Educational Attainment: An Application of Instrumental Variables with Moments from Two Samples," NBER Working Papers 3571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Beller, Andrea H & Chung, Seung Sin, 1992. "Family Structure and Educational Attainment of Children: Effects of Remarriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 5(1), pages 39-59, February.
    14. Melissa Binder, 1998. "Family background, gender and schooling in Mexico," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 54-71.
    15. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    16. Barry R. Chiswick, 1988. "Differences in Education and Earnings Across Racial and Ethnic Groups: Tastes, Discrimination, and Investments in Child Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 571-597.
    17. Paul Glewwe, 1999. "Why Does Mother's Schooling Raise Child Health in Developing Countries? Evidence from Morocco," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 124-159.
    18. Sherrie A. Kossoudji, 1989. "Immigrant Worker Assimilation: Is It a Labor Market Phenomenon?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 494-527.
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    More about this item


    assimilation; education; ethnicity; migration; second generation migrants;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion


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