Can State Language Policies Distort Students' Demand for Higher Education?

44 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2011

See all articles by Alexander Muravyev

Alexander Muravyev

Saint Petersburg Branch National Research University Higher School of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Oleksandr Talavera

Swansea University - School of Management

Abstract

This paper takes advantage of a recent policy experiment in Ukraine's secondary education system to study the effect of stricter requirements for proficiency in the state language on linguistic minority studentsメ demand for, as well as opportunities to pursue, further studies at the university level. The reform that we consider obligated all minority students, including those studying in public schools with a full cycle of education in minority languages, to take a standardized school exit test (which is also a university entry test) in Ukrainian, the state language, thus denying them previously granted access to translated tests. Using school-level data and employing the difference-in-difference estimator we find evidence that the reform resulted in a decline in the number of subjects taken by minority students at the school exit test. There was also a notable shift in the take-up of particular subjects, with fewer exams taken by minority students in more linguistically-demanding subjects such as History, Biology, and Geography, and more exams taken in foreign languages and Math. Overall, our results suggest some distortions in the accumulation of human capital by linguistic minority students induced by the language policy.

Keywords: language policy, economics of minorities, education, Ukraine

JEL Classification: I28, J15

Suggested Citation

Muravyev, Alexander and Talavera, Oleksandr, Can State Language Policies Distort Students' Demand for Higher Education?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5411, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1733736

Alexander Muravyev (Contact Author)

Saint Petersburg Branch National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Kantemirovskaya str. 3a
St. Petersburg, 194000
Russia

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.hse.ru/en/org/persons/127811036

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 5-9
Bonn, D-53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/index_html

Oleksandr Talavera

Swansea University - School of Management ( email )

Haldane Building
Singleton Park
Swansea, SA2 8PP
United Kingdom

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