No. 726 - Low skilled immigration and the expansion of private schools

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by Davide Dottori and I-Ling Shen October 2009

A political-economic model is provided to study the impact of low-skilled immigration on the receiving country's education system, in terms of sources of school funding, expenditure per pupil, and type of parents who are more likely to send children to privately funded schools. The education regime results from the interplay between households' choices on fertility and education and the public education provided. No exogenous culturally-based difference is assumed among agents. Low-skilled migrant workers differ from their local counterparts only in voting rights and adjustment costs. The impact of immigration on public school congestion, tax base, wages and skill premium are considered. When the number of low-skilled immigrants is large, the education regime tends to become more segregated, with wealthier locals more likely to opt out of the public system into private schools. The fertility differential between high- and low-skilled locals increases due to a quantity/quality trade-off. The theoretical predictions conform to stylized facts revealed in US census data and OECD PISA (2003).

Published in 2013 in: Journal of Economic Theory, v. 148, 5, pp. 2124-2149

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