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This paper hit my inbox this morning. It asks what impact immigration has on the ability of natives to complete high school in the United States between 1940 and 2010. Two possible channels are examined. First, the conventional view is that immigrants who go to high school take resources that would otherwise be dedicated to Americans, thereby making Americans worse off. A second view is that immigrant attendance at high school motivates Americans and thereby should be more likely to complete their educations.

Of course there are additional channels not explored (such as the positive or negative peer effects that such interactions provide).

What does the paper find? Based on the previous post you probably would not be surprised to learn that  immigrant high school attendance increases the completion probabilities for American blacks. It seems to decrease the completion probabilities for American Hispanics. Overall the author finds that:

An increase of one percentage point in the share of immigrants in the population aged 11-64 increases the probability that natives aged 11-17 eventually complete 12 years of schooling by 0.3 percentage points, and increases the probability for native-born blacks by 0.4 percentage points.

To put this in perspective, there are about 228 million people in this age cohort, and about 12.5% of the population is foreign-born (28.5 million in this age group). So, this is asking what would happen to high school completions if roughly 2 million immigrants came to the United States. Right now, it looks like 89.8% (PDF file) of Americans aged 18-24 who are not in high school have completed. So adding immigrants would increase this to about 90.1% (not really an apples-to-apples comparison).

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One Response to “Immigration and Assimilation Update”

  1. chuck martel says:

    There were no black or Hispanic girls where I went to school, luckily for me, or I would have paid even less attention to classwork than I did.

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