Educational Achievement of Second‐Generation Immigrants: An International Comparison

43 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2012

See all articles by Christian Dustmann

Christian Dustmann

University College London; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Tommaso Frattini

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA); University of Milan - Department of Economics, Business and Statistics

Gianandrea Lanzara

University of Bologna

Date Written: January 2012

Abstract

This paper compares the educational attainment of second‐generation immigrants with that of children born to native parents in several OECD countries. We show that the average gap in test scores of children of immigrants and natives differs widely across countries, and is strongly related to achievement differences in the parent generation. The disadvantage of immigrant children reduces, and even disappears for some countries, once we condition on parental background characteristics. A foreign language spoken at home is the single most important factor associated with the achievement gap. An alternative reference group to native children are children born to non‐emigrants in the country of origin. We compare mathematics test scores of children of Turkish immigrants in several destination countries, to those of Turkish children in Turkey whose parents have not emigrated. We find that in most host countries, the test score achievement of the children of Turkish immigrants (although being lower than that of their native peers) is higher than that of children of their cohort in the home country. This is conditional and unconditional on parental background characteristics. The higher school‐ and peer‐ quality relative to that in the home country is a main determinant of the educational advantage of immigrant children.

Suggested Citation

Dustmann, Christian and Frattini, Tommaso and Lanzara, Gianandrea, Educational Achievement of Second‐Generation Immigrants: An International Comparison (January 2012). Economic Policy, Vol. 27, Issue 69, pp. 143-185, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1987314 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0327.2011.00275.x

Christian Dustmann (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7679 5832 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Tommaso Frattini

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA) ( email )

Via P. Amedeo 34
Milano, Mi 20122
Italy

University of Milan - Department of Economics, Business and Statistics ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
Milan, 20122
Italy

Gianandrea Lanzara

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100
Italy

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