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Long-Term Orientation and Educational Performance (WP-16-12)

David Figlio, Paola Giuliano, Umut Özek, Paola Sapienza

We use remarkable population-level administrative education and birth records from Florida to study the role of Long-Term Orientation on the educational attainment of immigrant students living in the U.S. Controlling for the quality of schools and individual characteristics, students from countries with long term oriented attitudes perform better than students from cultures that do not emphasize the importance of delayed gratification. These students perform better in third grade reading and math tests, have larger test score gains over time, have fewer absences and disciplinary incidents, are less likely to repeat grades, and are more likely to graduate from high school in four years. Also, they are more likely to enroll in advanced high school courses, especially in scientific subjects. Parents from long term oriented cultures are more likely to secure better educational opportunities for their children. A larger fraction of immigrants speaking the same language in the school amplifies the effect of Long-Term Orientation on educational performance. We validate these results using a sample of immigrant students living in 37 different countries.

David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and of Economics; Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University; and Faculty Research Associate, NBER

Paola Giuliano, Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles; Faculty Research Associate, NBER

Umut Özek, Senior Researcher, American Institutes for Research; Affiliated Researcher, National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research

Paola Sapienza, Donald C. Clark/HSBC Chair in Consumer Finance Professor, Northwestern University; and Faculty Research Associate, NBER

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