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Why Birthright Citizenship Matters for Immigrant Children: Short- and Long-Run Impacts on Educational Integration

University of Würzburg, CESifoUniversity of Munich, Ifo Institute, CESifoUniversity of Würzburg

This paper examines whether the introduction of birthright citizenship in Germany affected immigrant children’s educational outcomes at the first three stages of the education system: preschool, primary school, and secondary school. Using a birth date cutoff as a source of exogenous variation, we find that the policy (i) increased immigrant children’s participation in noncompulsory preschool education, (ii) had positive effects on key developmental outcomes measured at the end of the preschool period, (iii) caused immigrant children to progress faster through primary school, and (iv) increased the likelihood of them attending the academic track of secondary school.