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Poor Background or Low Returns? Why Immigrant Students in Germany Perform so Poorly in PISA

  • Ammermüller, Andreas

Student performance of Germans and immigrants differed greatly in the 2000 PISA study. This paper analyses why the two groups of students performed so differently by estimating educational production functions, using an extension study with imputed data. The difference in the test scores is assigned to different effects, using a Juhn-Murphy-Pierce decomposition method. The analysis shows that German students have on average more favorable characteristics and experience slightly higher returns to these characteristics in terms of test scores than immigrant students. The later enrolment of immigrant students and preferences of parents as reflected by the number of books and language spoken at home are more important than parents? education or the family setting for explaining the test score gap. Overall, the variation in test scores can be explained better by the observable characteristics for immigrant than for German students.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 05-18.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:2908
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  1. Ammermüller, Andreas, 2004. "PISA: What Makes the Difference? Explaining the Gap in PISA Test Scores Between Finland and Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  3. Gang, Ira N. & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1999. "Is Child like Parent? Educational Attainment and Ethnic Origin," IZA Discussion Papers 57, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Lauer, Charlotte, 2000. "Gender wage gap in West Germany: how far do gender differences in human capital matter?," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-07, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Ammermüller, Andreas & Heijke, Hans & Wößmann, Ludger, 2005. "Schooling quality in eastern Europe: Educational production during transition," Munich Reprints in Economics 20191, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1992. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Learning from International Comparisons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 533-38, May.
  7. Eric A. Hanushek & Javier A. Luque, 2002. "Efficiency and Equity in Schools around the World," NBER Working Papers 8949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Frick, Joachim R. & Wagner, Gert G., 2001. "Economic and Social Perspectives of Immigrant Children in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 301, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
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