July 2016

IZA DP No. 10065: The Impact of Immigrant Peers on Native Students' Academic Achievement in Countries Where Parents of Immigrants Are Relatively Skilled

This study examines how exposure to immigrant students affects the academic achievement of native students in the three largest immigrant-receiving countries – United States, Australia, and Canada. Using a large cross-country dataset, variation in the share of immigrant children between different grade levels within schools is exploited to identify the impact of immigrant peers. I find that exposure to immigrant children has dissimilar effects on native students' achievements across the three countries. While exposure has a positive impact on Australian natives, it has a negative impact on Canadian natives. Exposure has no effect on U.S. natives. More importantly, I find that institutional factors, such as the way in which countries organise their educational systems, have a crucial bearing on how immigrant students affect their peers.