Goals and Gaps: Educational Careers of Immigrant Children

55 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2018

See all articles by Michela Carlana

Michela Carlana

Università Bocconi

Eliana La Ferrara

Bocconi University - Department of Economics

Paolo Pinotti

Bocconi University - BAFFI Center on International Markets, Money, and Regulation

Date Written: December 2017

Abstract

We study the educational choices of children of immigrants in a tracked school system. We first show that immigrant boys in Italy enroll disproportionately into vocational high schools, as opposed to technical and academically-oriented high schools, compared to natives of similar ability. Immigrant girls, instead, choose similar schools as native ones. We then estimate the impact of a large-scale, randomized intervention providing tutoring and career counseling to high-ability immigrant students. Male treated students increase their probability of enrolling into the high track to the same level of natives, also closing the gap in terms of grade retention. There are no significant effects on immigrant females, who exhibit similar choices and performance as native ones in absence of the intervention. Increases in academic motivation and the resulting changes in teachers' recommendation regarding high school choice explain a sizable portion of the effect, while the effect of increases in cognitive skills is negligible. Finally, we find positive spillovers on immigrant classmates of treated students, while there is no effect on native classmates.

Keywords: aspirations, career choice, immigrants, mentoring, tracking

JEL Classification: I24, J15

Suggested Citation

Carlana, Michela and La Ferrara, Eliana and Pinotti, Paolo, Goals and Gaps: Educational Careers of Immigrant Children (December 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12538. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3095588

Michela Carlana (Contact Author)

Università Bocconi

Eliana La Ferrara

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

Paolo Pinotti

Bocconi University - BAFFI Center on International Markets, Money, and Regulation ( email )

Milano, 20136
Italy

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