Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research

No 6/2005: Age at Immigration and School Performance: A Siblings Analysis Using Swedish Register Data

Anders Böhlmark ()
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Anders Böhlmark: Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, Postal: SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This article analyzes the role of age at immigration for the school performance gap between native and immigrant pupils in Sweden. The analysis exploits within-family variation in a large set of register data on immigrant siblings (and native children) graduating from compulsory school (normally at age 16) between 1988 and 2003. The critical age at arrival is about nine, above which there is a strong negative impact on performance. The slopes of these age-at-immigration performance profiles are similar for boys and girls as well as for children from different family backgrounds, but they vary widely by region of origin. Moreover, the estimated profiles are flatter for Mathematics than for a range of subjects taken together. This demonstrates the importance of Sweden-specific skills. A comparison of sibling-difference and cross-sectional estimates reveals that they are strikingly similar.

Keywords: age at immigration; age at arrival; school performance; siblings approach

JEL-codes: I29; J15

38 pages, First version: November 21, 2005. Revised: December 10, 2007.

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