The Tower of Babel in the Classroom: Immigrants and Natives in Italian Schools

38 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2014

See all articles by Rosario Ballatore

Rosario Ballatore

Bank of Italy

Margherita Fort

University of Bologna; Ifo Institute, CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute), Ifo Institute; IZA

Andrea Ichino

University of Bologna

Abstract

We exploit rules of class formation to identify the causal effect of increasing the number of immigrants in a classroom on natives test scores, keeping class size constant (Pure Composition Effect). We explain why this is a relevant policy parameter although it has been neglected so far. We show that the PCE is sizeable and negative at age 7 (-1.6% for language and math) and does not vanish when children grow up to age 10. Conventional estimates are instead smaller because they are confounded by endogenous class size adjustments implemented by principals when confronted with immigrant and native inflows.

Keywords: education, immigration, integration

JEL Classification: C36, I20, I24, J15

Suggested Citation

Ballatore, Rosario and Fort, Margherita and Ichino, Andrea, The Tower of Babel in the Classroom: Immigrants and Natives in Italian Schools. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8732, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2543927 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2543927

Rosario Ballatore (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Margherita Fort

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100
Italy

Ifo Institute, CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute), Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich
Germany

IZA ( email )

Andrea Ichino

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 1
40126 Bologna, fc 47100
Italy
+39 349 5965919 (Phone)

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