Exploiting the random allocation of asylum seekers to different locations in Germany, we study the impact of native attitudes, proxied by voting behaviors, on refugees’ integration. We find that in municipalities with more voting for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party, refugees have worse social integration. These impacts are largest for groups targeted by AfD campaigns. Refugees are also more likely to suffer from harassment and right-wing attacks in areas with greater AfD support. Positive interactions with locals are also less likely and negative opinions about immigration spillover to supporters of other parties in these areas. On the other hand, stronger support for pro-immigrant parties enhances social integration. 

Note:  Effect of AfD vote shares in municipalities on the economic and social integration index of refugees.

Media Coverage: in the Oekonomenstimme

Presented at:  RGS Doctoral Conference in Economics (February 2022),  Paris School of Economics Migration Summer School (July 2021),  BENA Labor Economics Worksop (December 2020)

Working Papers

Job Market Paper:

Starting off on the Right Foot – Language Learning Classes and the Educational Success of Immigrant Children (with Lisa Sofie Höckel) Revise and Resubmit at The Economic Journal

Download on: Google Drive 

Discussion Paper: Ruhr Economic Papers 983

This study is the first empirical analysis to identify the causal effect of a separate preparatory language learning class on the academic success of newly immigrated primary school-aged children in comparison to their direct integration into regular classrooms. Employing unique administrative panel data from the German federal state Hamburg between 2013 and 2019, we use the quasi-random allocation of refugee children to neighborhoods and, therewith, schools to measure the effect of the two educational integration models on standardized test scores and the probability of attending an academic track in secondary school.

Our results show that primary school-aged refugees who visit a preparatory class perform significantly worse in standardized test scores in fifth grade. The negative effect is particularly strong for Math and German. They further have a slightly lower probability to attend the academic track. Overall, our results indicate that integrating newly immigrated children directly into regular classrooms fosters their academic achievement more than schooling them first in preparatory classes with a focus on language learning.

Test restuls
Note: Standardized Test Scores in 5th grade for students who visited a preparatory language learning class compared to those that are directly integrated in the regular classroom

Media CoverageWorld Bank Development Impact Blog Post

Süddeutsche Zeitung (please email me if you don't have access and would like to read the article)

    RWI Press Release

Presented at:  CESifo / ifo Junior Workshop on the Economics of Education (April 2023), AlpPop (January 2023), SEA 92nd Annual Meeting (November 2022),  Economics of migration junior seminar (October 2022), Stratification Workshop Princeton (October 2022), 7th IZA Workshop on the Economics of Education (September 2022),  EALE 2022 (September 2022),  EEA 2022 (August 2022),  CEMIR Junior Economist Workshop on Migration Research (July 2022),  23rd IZA Summer School in Labor Economics in Buch am Ammersee (May, 2022), First joint Workshop of Applied Macro and Microeconomics in Bolzano (December 2021)

Work in Progress

What do you Want to become? Career Aspiration and School Performance. Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment (with Federico Maggio)

AEA Registry: link

We all overemphasize the present, teenagers even more so, as potential benefits of studying and investing in education seem distant and uncertain. Our project examines the impact of a two-phase randomized intervention designed to help teenagers be more forward-looking on their career aspirations and academic performance. We will evaluate the impact of the intervention by comparing the change in knowledge about the future, motivation, and educational performance in the treated classes to that in the control group, before and after the intervention through surveys conducted in schools. 

Presented at:  UPF Student Seminar (October 2021)

Lost in Translation. Information Frictions in School Track Choice - Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment (with Friederike Hertweck & Lisa Sofie Höckel

In this study, we will analyze whether linguistic barriers and a lack of knowledge about the German school system hinders immigrant parents from making an informed decision about their children’s school track. As part of a randomized control trial in North Rhine-Westphalia, parents of fourth-graders are provided a (multilingual) mobile application containing useful information for making an informed decision for their child's secondary school. Three versions of the App will be randomly assigned to elementary schools.

Presented at:  CSWEP Mentoring Workshop (September 2022)