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Diversity in Schools: Immigrants and the Educational Performance of U.S. Born Students (WP-21-19)

David Figlio, Paola Giuliano, Riccardo Marchingiglio, Umut Özek, and Paola Sapienza

The researchers study the effect of exposure to immigrants on the educational outcomes of U.S.-born students, using a unique dataset combining population-level birth and school records from Florida. This research question is complicated by substantial school selection of U.S.-born students, especially among White and comparatively affluent students, in response to the presence of immigrant students in the school. The authors propose a new identification strategy to partial out the unobserved non-random selection into schools, and find that the presence of immigrant students has a positive effect on the academic achievement of U.S.-born students, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Moreover, the presence of immigrants does not affect negatively the performance of affluent U.S.-born students, who typically show a higher academic achievement compared to immigrant students. The researchers provide suggestive evidence on potential channels.

David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy, Dean of the School of Education and Social Policy, and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Paola Giuliano, Professor of Economics, University of California Los Angeles

Riccardo Marchingiglio, Analysis Group, Inc.

Umut Özek, American Institutes for Research

Paola Sapienza, Donald C. Clark/HSBC Chair in Consumer Finance Professor and IPR Associate, Northwestern University

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