Umut Özek

American Institutes for Research/CALDER
1000 Thomas Jefferson St. NW
Washington, DC 20007

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Institutional Affiliation: American Institutes for Research

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2019An Extra Year to Learn English? Early Grade Retention and the Human Capital Development of English Learners
with David N. Figlio: w25472
In this study, we use microdata from 12 Florida county-level school districts and a regression discontinuity design to examine the effects of early grade retention on the short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes of English learners. We find that retention in the third-grade substantially improves the English skills of these students, reducing the time to proficiency by half and decreasing the likelihood of taking a remedial English course in middle school by one-third. Grade retention also roughly doubles the likelihood of taking an advanced course in math and science in middle school, and more than triples the likelihood of taking college credit-bearing courses in high school for English learners. We also find that these benefits are larger for foreign born students, students with higher l...
August 2017Unwelcome Guests? The Effects of Refugees on the Educational Outcomes of Incumbent Students
with David N. Figlio: w23661
The world is experiencing the second largest refugee crisis in a century, and one of the major points of contention involves the possible adverse effects of incoming refugees on host communities. We examine the effects of a large refugee influx into Florida public schools following the Haitian earthquake of 2010 using unique matched birth and schooling records. We find precise zero estimated effects of refugees on the educational outcomes of incumbent students in the year of the earthquake or in the two years that follow, regardless of the socioeconomic status, grade level, ethnicity, or birthplace of incumbent students.

Published: David Figlio & Umut Özek, 2019. "Unwelcome Guests? The Effects of Refugees on the Educational Outcomes of Incumbent Students," Journal of Labor Economics, vol 37(4), pages 1061-1096.

August 2016Long-Term Orientation and Educational Performance
with David Figlio, Paola Giuliano, Paola Sapienza: w22541
We use remarkable population-level administrative education and birth records from Florida to study the role of Long-Term Orientation on the educational attainment of immigrant students living in the US. Controlling for the quality of schools and individual characteristics, students from countries with long term oriented attitudes perform better than students from cultures that do not emphasize the importance of delayed gratification. These students perform better in third grade reading and math tests, have larger test score gains over time, have fewer absences and disciplinary incidents, are less likely to repeat grades, and are more likely to graduate from high school in four years. Also, they are more likely to enroll in advanced high school courses, especially in scientific subjects. P...
May 2016Cross-Generational Differences in Educational Outcomes in the Second Great Wave of Immigration
with David N. Figlio: w22262
We make use of a new data source – matched birth records and longitudinal student records in Florida – to study the degree to which student outcomes differ across successive immigrant generations. Specifically, we investigate whether first, second, and third generation Asian and Hispanic immigrants in Florida perform differently on reading and mathematics tests, and whether they are differentially likely to get into serious trouble in school, to be truant from school, to graduate from high school, or to be ready for college upon high school graduation. We find evidence suggesting that early-arriving first generation immigrants perform better than do second generation immigrants, and second generation immigrants perform better than third generation immigrants. Among first generation immigra...
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