Immigrant and Native Children's Cognitive Outcomes and the Effect of Ethnic Concentration in Danish Schools

Study Paper No. 20

By Peter Jensen, Astrid Würtz Rasmussen

This pamphlet uses a unique and very rich dataset - from the Programme for International Student Assessment - to investigate how ethnic concentration in school influences cognitive outcomes for both immigrant and native Danish children. The paper finds that immigrant children from non-Western countries have lower reading test scores than native Danish children, and that children in schools with a high ethnic concentration score significantly lower in the reading test than children in schools with a low ethnic concentration. These results are fairly robust across estimation methods. Immigrant children's lower cognitive outcome is related to the ethnic concentration in the schools they attend and their relatively low socioeconomic status. Instrumenting for ethnic concentration reveals that even after taking into consideration that individuals may sort across neighborhoods, ethnic concentration in the school and the child's own ethnicity are still important factors in determining the child's cognitive outcome. Also recognized is a strong positive effect on the children's cognitive outcome of speaking Danish at home.

47 pages

Publication Date: 11/1/2008
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9788776743697