Age at Arrival, Skill Formation and Life Chances in Adulthood among Child Immigrants

Are Skeie Hermansen, University of Oslo

This study examines the long-term impact of immigration at different developmental stages in childhood on the skill formation and life chances of child immigrants. I use Norwegian administrative data on 23,748 individuals to analyze the relationship between child immigrants’ age at arrival and adult socioeconomic attainments with cross-sectional and within-family methods. I find a progressively negative relationship between older age at arrival and children’s completed schooling and economic success in adulthood. These results are robust to the inclusion of family fixed-effects that account for all fixed family influences shared by siblings. These persistent associations indicate that experiences related to the timing of immigration in childhood have causal effects on later life outcomes. This within-family finding confirms age at arrival as a key determinant of successful integration in adulthood and is consistent with the hypothesis that immigration after optimal periods of developmental plasticity may trigger cumulative disadvantages over the life course.

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Presented in Poster Session 8