Immigrating to Opportunity: Estimating the Effect of School Quality Using a Natural Experiment on Ethiopians in Israel

37 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2003

See all articles by Eric D. Gould

Eric D. Gould

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

M. Daniele Paserman

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2003

Abstract

In May 1991, fifteen thousand Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in an overnight airlift and sorted in a haphazard and essentially random fashion to absorption centers across the country. This quasi-random assignment produced a natural experiment whereby the initial schooling environment of Ethiopian children can be considered exogenous to their family background and parental decisions. We examine the extent to which the initial elementary school environment affected the high school outcomes of Ethiopian children, using administrative panel data on the educational career of each child in Israel through much of the 1990s. The results show that the early school environment has an important effect on high school dropout and repetition rates and on end-of-high-school matriculation exams. The results are robust to controlling for observable characteristics of the community, suggesting that characteristics of the elementary school itself, such as the quality of instruction and peer effects, are important for high school success.

Keywords: school quality, natural experiment, peer effects, dropout rates, immigrant absorption

JEL Classification: I20, J24

Suggested Citation

Gould, Eric D. and Lavy, Victor and Paserman, M. Daniele, Immigrating to Opportunity: Estimating the Effect of School Quality Using a Natural Experiment on Ethiopians in Israel (August 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=433261 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.433261

Eric D. Gould

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3247 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: https://sites.google.com/site/edgould

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Victor Lavy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3245 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

M. Daniele Paserman (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3365 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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