Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 527–545 | Cite as

Immigrants’ educational disadvantage: an examination across ten countries and three surveys

  • Sylke Viola Schnepf


Studies on immigrants’ disadvantage focus predominantly on labour market perspectives. Immigrants’ poor education is a subject much less examined especially in a cross-national context. This paper examines differences in educational achievement between immigrants and natives across ten OECD countries. In English-speaking countries, immigrants fare best, while in Continental European countries they fare worse compared to natives. Whilst language skills seem to explain immigrants’ disadvantage in English-speaking countries, socioeconomic background and school segregation are further important determinants of immigrants’ gap in Continental Europe. Results presented are predominantly robust across three sources of achievement data: PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS.


Education Educational inequalities Immigration 

JEL Classification

I21 J15 O15 



Helpful comments and suggestions by John Micklewright, David Culliford, James Raymer and three anonymous referees are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southampton Statistical Sciences Research InstituteUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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