The Effects of Immigrant Concentration in Schools on Adolescent Crime

Are Skeie Hermansen , University of Oslo
Torbjørn Skardhamar, University of Oslo

Despite a growing literature on immigrant concentration in school and children’s educational outcomes, the effects on crime has received surprisingly little empirical focus. This study addresses the effect of immigrant peer exposure on adolescent criminal behavior among immigrant and native male students using Norwegian administrative data. Our sample covers eighteen full cohorts in their final grade of compulsory education followed to their early twenties (476,352 students; 13,521 school-cohorts; 1,011 schools). Results show a moderate positive correlation between immigrant share and crime rates at the school-cohort level (Pearson’s r=0.225, p<0.001). While this between-school relationship is reduced in regressions controlling for school fixed effects and student background characteristics, we find that native students in cohorts with more immigrant peers within the same school have slightly higher propensities to commit crimes. These effects are concentrated among students with low-educated parents. For immigrant students, we do not find any adverse immigrant peer effects.

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth