Student Sorting: The Effects of Immigration

Lucila Berniell
University Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Many developed countries have been receiving large immigration inflows during the last decades, which has changed the demographics of school-age children in these countries. Such sudden changes are likely to have a serious impact on segregation of students between public and private schools. In Spain, since 1998 both the proportion of native parents who chose to send their children to private schools as well as the proportion of immigrant parents who chose public institutions increased with immigration. Building on previous literature on school sorting and cultural transmission I construct a model of school choice that can account for the observed school segregation in Spain. The model economy is a single-community, multi-neighborhood general equilibrium model with overlapping generations of individuals who differ along two dimensions, income and cultural traits. Parents care about their children's future income and their acquired cultural traits. I use the model economy to study the impact of immigration on school and neighborhood segregation and to analyze policies that can affect the allocation of students across schools and the integration outcomes of immigrants and their children.

View full paper