Educational attainment of the children of immigrants in Germany: Do inter-ethnic children exhibit positive choice effects?

Gabriel Tarriba Martinez Lopez, Hertie School of Governance

This project examines the educational expectations of the children of immigrants in England, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. Educational expectations are the beliefs of school-age children regarding their final educational attainment. There is amounting descriptive evidence that children of immigrants have higher educational expectations than native children. This stands in contrast to the lower educational performance of the children of immigrants. This paper explores the gap between the educational expectations and performance of children of immigrants using data from the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study in Four European Countries (CILS4EU). The data includes objective measures of children’s school performance and their educational expectations. We examine how the demographic, socio-economic and socio-cultural characteristics of immigrant households influence the gap between the expectations and performance. In particular, we study the effect of selective acculturation on both variables and assess the extent to which this effect depends on socio-economic background. Selective acculturation is characterized by the retention of parental language and of elements of parental culture, the preservation of strong ties to the ethnic community and the development of a hyphenated identity encompassing both the host country and the country of the parents. Moreover, selective acculturation is also associated with strong family structures and good parent-child relationships. As a method, we use pool logit regression. We furthermore exploit the panel structure of our data and examine how changes in patterns of selective acculturation among the children of immigrants relate to changes in their educational expectations and performance.

Presented in Session 72: The Transition to Adulthood Among Immigrant Youth