The Impact of Refugees on Native Students' Academic Achievement and Post-Secondary Education

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2203 SS&H Andrews Conference Room | UC Davis

The number of asylum seekers worldwide has reached its highest point in history. Over 120,000 refugees entered the U.S. including large numbers of children and there is uncertainty about how this inflow will affect native children’s schooling outcomes. To fill this gap in the literature, this paper studies how the largest inflow of refugees in U.S. history –Indochinese refugees at the end of the Vietnam War – affected U.S. children. Then, it examines whether native children’s academic achievement was lower in ZIP Codes with higher shares of refugees using the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS88) and U.S. Census data. Preliminary results suggest that, on average, there is no effect on native’s school choice or academic achievement, there is a small increase in the likelihood of graduating from high school, and there is a small reduction in the likelihood of obtaining an associate degree. Moreover, the effects are stronger for native students in disadvantaged conditions.

Cynthia van der Werf

Ph.D. Student 
Department of Economics, UC Davis

Cynthia van der Werf is a fourth-year graduate student in the economics department. Her research focuses on the economic integration of immigrants and the spillovers between newcomers and natives.


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