Diversity in School: Immigrants and the Educational Performance of U.S.-Born Students

Awarded Scholars:
Paola Sapienza, Northwestern University
David Figlio, Northwestern University
Project Date:
Feb 2020
Award Amount:

The increase in immigrant students in the U.S. has generated debate on the effects of immigration on education and on the perceived costs that immigrants may impose on schools, local government, and educational outcomes of U.S.-born students. Yet there is limited research on the effects of immigrant students on the educational outcomes of native peers. Economist Paola Sapienza and colleagues will examine educational outcomes when native students are exposed to immigrant peers. Using a dataset containing birth records and population-level administrative data from the Florida Department of Education, they will compare differences among siblings exposed to different fractions of peer immigrants in their schools. The dataset contains information on all K-12 students attending Florida public schools between 2002-2003 and 2011-2012. Matching the administrative data to birth certificates allows the PIs to identify siblings and exploit within family variation and control for family-year fixed effects. The final sample consists of 411,056 students and 1,564,760 student-year observations.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


The Russell Sage Foundation offers grants and positions in our Visiting Scholars program for research.


Join our mailing list for email updates.