Do refugee students affect the academic achievement of peers? Evidence from a large urban school district

Auteur(s) : Morales, Camila

Date: 2022

Pages: 16 p.

Serie: Economics of Education Review

Series Volume: 89


Policy debate on refugee resettlement focuses on perceived adverse effects on local communities, with sparse credible evidence to ascertain its impact. In this paper, the author presents evidence on the impact of refugee integration in public schools by examining whether attending school with refugees affects the academic outcomes of non-refugee students. Leveraging variation in the share of refugees within schools and across grades, the author finds that a 1 percentage point increase in the share of refugees raises math test scores of non-refugee students by 0.01 standard deviations. No impact is found on average English Language Arts performance, although results in this subject differ by incumbent students’ prior achievement levels. Supplemental analyses suggest that the positive spillovers in math achievement are in part driven by compensatory funding and in-kind support made available to schools serving refugee students.

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