Culture and Intergenerational Social Mobility

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 02.03.2016, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

David N. Figlio (Northwestern University)


This paper makes use of unique population-level matched birth and school registry data from Florida to study the degree to which cultural factors influence the human capital development of first- and second-generation immigrants. We find that both first-generation and second-generation immigrants originating in countries with high values of long-term orientation score better on mathematics and reading assessments, are less likely to be truant or to have disciplinary problems, and have higher rates of high school graduation than do those from countries with lower values of long-term orientation, and that their score growth between grades 3 and 8 is also more pronounced. We explore a number of mechanisms to help to explain these findings. For instance, immigrants with high long-term orientation appear more likely to use school choice programs and gifted instruction in an apparent attempt to benefit their children. We find corroborative evidence from PISA data as well.

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