Peer diversity, college performance and educational choices

Arnaud Chevalier, Ingo E. Isphording, Elena Lisauskaite

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We study the effect of ethno-linguistic classroom composition on performance, educational choices and post-graduation migration of students. In the setting of a British University where assignment to seminars is plausibly exogenous, we define two measures of classroom composition: the share of non-native speakers and the linguistic diversity of the non-speaker group. Non-native speaker’s performance benefits from greater linguistic diversity. Native speakers are unaffected by classroom composition. Survey information points to changed interaction patterns in the classroom as a likely mechanism. While ethno-linguistic seminar composition has no meaningful impact on subsequent course choice, the effect of initial diversity on grades persists until the final year of study. The results imply that avoiding segregation along language lines is key in providing education for an international student body.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101833
Number of pages21
JournalLabour Economics
Early online date26 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2020


  • higher education
  • diversity
  • peer effects
  • foreign students

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