Differences in educational attainment between immigrants' and natives' children in Finland

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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This thesis studies differences in educational attainment between immigrants’ and natives’ children in Finland. The approach includes a literary review on previous research conducted in Finland and Europe, and an empirical analysis. The empirical approach utilizes data provided by PISA 2012 and different variations of an OLS regression model. The empirical analysis demonstrates that immigrants’ children have on average around 100-point gap to children of natives in mathematics, literature and science, with second generation immigrants scoring significantly closer to natives’ children than first generation immigrants. The regression analysis reveals that the gap is reduced when controlling for socioeconomic background, age at arrival, and school fixed effects. More specifically, age at arrival appears to correlate with the scores in mathematics, literature, and sciences the most, reducing the gap between first generation immigrants and natives’ children by 20 to 40 points depending on the tested subject. In addition, conditional results demonstrate that the explanatory variables appear to diminish the differences between first and second generation immigrants near completely. However, a significant point gap between immigrants’ and natives’ children remains even after controlling for socioeconomic background, age at arrival and school fixed effects. A more detailed analysis on socioeconomic background demonstrates that for first generation immigrants having parents who have a tertiary education compared to basic education reduces the point differences to observably similar natives’ children. Similar results are found for second generation immigrants but with less significance. The empirical results are in line with key findings from previous research.
Thesis advisor
Sarvimäki, Matti
immigration, children of immigrants, education, educational differences
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