Does a Passport Get You a Degree? Citizenship Reform and Educational Achievement

Category: Management & Microeconomics Brown Bag Seminar
When: 25 January 2024
, 12:30
 - 13:30
Where: RuW 4.201
Speaker: Celina Proffen

Title: Does a Passport Get You a Degree? Citizenship Reform and Educational Achievement (joint with Franziska Riepl)


Abstract: Obtaining citizenship is often considered a crucial step in the lives of second-generation immigrants. While some countries have a long-standing tradition of birthright citizenship, others still enforce restrictive application procedures that pose significant administrative and personal hurdles. This paper examines the impact of introducing birthright citizenship in Germany on the educational trajectories of second-generation immigrants. Our identification strategy exploits the design of a new law in 2000, under which birthright citizenship is granted to children of immigrants born after 2000 to parents who fulfill certain eligibility criteria. Using high-quality census-like data, we show that the reform contributes to closing pre-existing educational gaps in secondary school track choice and completion between natives and descendants of immigrants. We also provide evidence for the underlying mechanisms: the reform led to higher expected returns to education, incentivizing investments in the latter. In addition, it also increased second-generation immigrants' sense of belonging and interaction with natives.