Ethnic School Segregation and Second Generation Immigrants’ Human Capital

Martin Nordin
Department of Economics, Sweden

Recent research report that there is a substantial skill difference in Sweden between natives and second-generation immigrants. The objective of this study is to find out whether there exists a relationship between attending an ethnically segregated school and the individuals’ human capital and the extent to which such an ethnic school effect helps to explain the skill deficits of second generation immigrants. The variation in ethnic concentration rate between cohorts within a school is generally not affecting the individual’s human capital outcome. However, when estimating separate ethnic segregation effects for natives and second generation immigrants we find a positive ethnic externality, on second generation immigrants’ cognitive test score and educational attainment, of having a large share of schoolmates with a foreign background. The interaction with fellow second generation immigrants do on the other hand seem to affect their Swedish skills negatively. Part from the ethnic cognitive test score gap our analysis has managed to explained the human capital gaps versus natives. In explaining the Swedish skill gap ethnic school segregation does seem to matter.

View full paper