Positive effects of citizenship

Researchers found that citizenship by birth might lead to better school performance for children of migrants.

11/17/2020 · Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Raumwissenschaften · ifo Institut Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung an der Universität München e. V. · News · Forschungsergebnis

Citizenship by birth is associated with better school performance for children of migrants. For example, it encourages immigrant parents to register their children in preschool. All children born to immigrants in Germany after the country reformed its citizenship law attended preschool. This is what ifo researchers Helmut Rainer and Christina Felfe (University of Wuerzburg) write in an essay in ifo Schnelldienst. Their work is based on school entry examinations and school registers covering preschool, primary, and secondary education.

At the end of the preschool period, the children scored considerably better on their German language skills and socioemotional maturity than children who did not automatically receive citizenship. This has further positive consequences, write Rainer and Felfe: those children with birthright citizenship transfer earlier from preschool to primary school. The probability that they will have to repeat a year in primary school also decreases. Finally, and of particular importance for these children’s later labor market prospects, the probability that they will attend university-track secondary school increases significantly. In fact, birthright citizenship almost halves the existing gap in enrollment rates at such secondary schools between children with and without an immigration background.

However, the authors report, the positive effects of citizenship by birth are limited to boys. Based on self-collected data covering all ninth- and tenth-graders in eight German cities, birthright citizenship almost closed the considerable pre-existing educational gap in core subjects such as German and mathematics between children with and without an immigration background. Male pupils with an immigration background completely caught up with their peers without an immigration background, but no such effects were observed among female pupils.

Original publication

Naturalization of (Young) Migrants: Catalyst or Reward for Successful Integration?
Gathmann, Christina / Monscheuer, Ole / Felfe, Christina / Rainer, Helmut / Falcke, Swantje / Pinotti, Paolo / Bertocchi, Graziella / Strozzi, Chiara
ifo Institut, München, 2020
ifo Schnelldienst, 2020, 73, Nr. 11, 03-24

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