The Impact of Immigrant Peers on Native Students' Achievement: In Countries Where Parents of Immigrants Are Relatively Skilled

Kelvin KC Seah, University of Otago and Singapore Management University

This study examines how exposure to immigrant students affects the academic achievement of native students in the three largest immigrant-receiving countries – United States, Australia, and Canada. Using a large cross-country dataset, variation in the share of immigrant children between different grade levels within schools is exploited to identify the impact of immigrant peers. I find that while exposure to immigrant children has a positive impact on the achievement of Australian natives, it has a negative impact on the achievement of Canadian natives. Exposure to immigrant children does not appear to affect the achievement of U.S. natives. A novel finding arising from this study is that institutional factors, such as the way in which countries organise their educational systems, have a crucial bearing on how immigrant students affect their peers.

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Presented in Session 152: Social and Educational Effects of Migration on Host Societies