Does a Passport Get You a Degree? Citizenship Reform and Educational Achievement *

58 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2024

See all articles by Celina Proffen

Celina Proffen

Goethe University Frankfurt

Franziska Riepl

Goethe University Frankfurt

Date Written: June 07, 2024

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of introducing birthright citizenship in Germany on the educational trajectories of second-generation immigrants. Our identification strategy exploits the design of a new law introduced in 1999, under which birthright citizenship is granted to children of foreigners born in January 2000 or later if their parents fulfill certain eligibility criteria. Using high-quality census-like data, we show that the reform contributes to closing pre-existing educational gaps in secondary school track choice and completion between natives and descendants of immigrants. We also provide evidence for the underlying mechanisms: the reform led to higher expected returns to education, incentivizing investments in education. In addition, it increased second-generation immigrants' sense of belonging to Germany and interaction with natives.

Keywords: birthright citizenship, education, integration JEL Codes: J15, J24, K37, O15

JEL Classification: J15, J24, K37, O15

Suggested Citation

Proffen, Celina and Riepl, Franziska, Does a Passport Get You a Degree? Citizenship Reform and Educational Achievement * (June 07, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4723300 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4723300

Celina Proffen

Goethe University Frankfurt

Franziska Riepl (Contact Author)

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

House of Finance
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt, Hesse 60629
Germany

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