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Hoffmann, Nathan I. “A ‘Win-Win Exercise’? The Effect of Westward Migration on Educational Outcomes of Eastern European Children.” Forthcoming in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Preprint | Replication Code

Since the end of the Cold War, millions of migrants from Eastern Europe have sought better opportunities in Western European countries, yet few studies have assessed the impact of such moves on these migrants’ children. In the aim of isolating a ‘treatment effect’ of migration on educational outcomes, this study analyzes Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores from 2012, 2015, and 2018 for adolescents born in twelve Eastern European countries and living in eight Western European countries. It employs propensity-score matching within a homeland dissimilation framework, comparing immigrants’ outcomes on reading, math, and science assessments to similar stay-at-homes in their countries of origin. In unadjusted comparisons to their counterparts who remained behind, migrant children attain lower scores across all three subjects. Once immigrant children are matched to non-immigrants with similar propensities to migrate, the disparity for math scores disappears, while those for reading and science remain. Disparities are wider for adolescents who come from within the EU, migrate at older ages, or speak a foreign language at home. This paper indicates the need for policymakers and educational administrators to better handle the negative academic effects that migration can have on children from within Europe.

Lai, Tianjian, Nathan I. Hoffmann, and Roger Waldinger. Forthcoming. “When Fear Spreads: Individual- and Group-Level Predictors of Deportation Fear Among Latino Immigrants.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Preprint | Replication Code and Data

What shapes Latino immigrants’ worries surrounding deportation? Using five waves of the Latino National Survey, we examine this question by considering immigrants’ own legal status, their social background, and the legal vulnerability of their national origin group. We find that while individual legal vulnerability heightens deportation worries, social and group markers also have independent and intersecting associations with immigrants’ worries. Disadvantaged social traits such as lack of English language proficiency and lower levels of education are associated with higher rates of deportation anxiety regardless of legal status, while also differentially shaping the effects of legal status. In addition, while all national origin groups are likely to report worrying about deportation, immigrants from national origin groups at greater risk of deportation tend to worry more, regardless of individual legal status. Finally, decomposition analysis suggests that individual legal status does not have greater explanatory power over deportation fears than social markers or group-level legal vulnerability. Even while being undocumented remains significant in shaping deportation fears, these fears vary widely and systematically within and across legal and social categories.

Hoffmann, Nathan I. 2018. “Cognitive Achievement of Children of Immigrants: Evidence from the Millennium Cohort Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study.” British Educational Research Journal 44 (6): 1005–28.


Although numerous studies have described the educational attainment of ethnic minorities in the UK, few have focused specifically on children born in the UK to two immigrant parents. First, using ordinary least squares (OLS) estimation, this article examines the cognitive assessment scores of children of immigrants in the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) and the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). It then exploits the richer data of the MCS to construct multilevel models for children of immigrants in this more recent cohort. In the BCS70, children of immigrants show significant gaps at ages 5 and 10 in both reading and maths scores. Even when controls are included in the OLS model for the BCS70, children of Caribbean immigrants are expected to perform worse in both assessments. In the raw MCS data, on the other hand, nearly no gap remains in age‐11 and ‐14 assessments. Although Bangladeshi children of immigrants in the MCS have negative coefficients in the OLS analysis, in the final multilevel model for the MCS, all children of immigrants follow positive trajectories wherein no group attains distinguishably lower scores than their peers in later assessments, and Indian children of immigrants even outperform their peers in the MCS model’s predictions.


Policy Effects on Mixed-Citizenship, Same-Sex Unions: A Triple-Difference Analysis

with Kristopher Velasco

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013, same-sex partners of U.S. citizens became eligible for spousal visas. Since then, the U.S. has a seen a rapid rise in same-sex, mixed-citizenship couples. However, this effect varies greatly depending on the LGB policy context of the non-citizen’s country of origin. Using waves 2008 to 2019 of the American Community Survey, this study employs a triple-difference design to examine how the policy environment of the origin country moderates the effect of the end of DOMA. Quasi-Poisson models with two-way fixed effects show that, after 2013, individuals in mixed-citizenship, same-sex couples couples coming from countries with progressive LGB policy saw a more than 60-percent increase in incidence relative to those in different-sex or same-citizenship couples. Meanwhile, those from countries with regressive laws experienced no significant increase. These results are corroborated by analyses of individual policies. We argue that the country-of-origin policy context impacts and is impacted by local norms and attitudes as well as individuals’ material circumstances. This nexus of factors leaves a lasting impact on immigrants that shapes migration decisions and responses to policy shifts.

Strangers in the Homeland? The Academic Performance of Children of Return Migrants in Mexico

The number of return migrants from the U.S. to Mexico has swelled in recent years, and yet we know little about the academic performance of the over 500,000 U.S.-born children who have accompanied them. This paper harnesses PISA test score data to compare U.S.-born children of return migrants in Mexico to two groups: Mexican-born students in Mexico, and students in the U.S. born to Spanish-speaking immigrant parents. Contrary to previous work highlighting the academic struggles faced by children of return migrants, these adolescents attain higher PISA scores than their Mexican-born counterparts. This advantage persists in models that control for both pre- and post-migration family characteristics. However, these adolescents’ scores are much lower than similar youths in the U.S. Controlling for variables related to immigrant selection does little to change estimates of disparities.

Making Migration Sexy: How State and National Policies Influence Migration of Same-Sex Couples

with Kristopher Velasco

As same-sex couples gain greater social acceptance and new rights, their numbers reported on surveys in the United States are rapidly increasing. Yet few researchers have studied immigrants in same-sex couples on a large scale. Using the American Community Survey from 2008 to 2019, this study compares immigrants in same-sex couples to corresponding different-sex couples in order to characterize and assess the scale of LGB migration to the U.S. as well as the role of LGB policy. Compared to different-sex immigrant couples, immigrants in same-sex couples come from richer, more democratic countries that are less represented in immigrant networks. Contrary to previous work focusing on LGB immigrants from repressive contexts, fixed effects models show that these immigrants are more likely to come from LGB-friendly countries. In addition, immigrants in same-sex couples are more likely to live in progressive U.S. states, net of potential confounders. This effect increases in strength as migrants come from more LGB-friendly countries of origin. These findings put into question dominant models of migration that emphasize economic and network effects, suggesting the importance of considering sexuality as well as political and lifestyle motivations more broadly.

The Importance of Context: Children of Immigrants in the United Kingdom

Numerous studies of the United Kingdom demonstrate that outcomes for children of immigrants vary by ethnicity, but few test mechanisms to explain these results or engage with the significant heterogeneity within ethnic groups. Immigration scholarship in the United States has fruitfully harnessed models of group-level contextual effects in explaining individual outcomes. The first to implement such a methodology in the United Kingdom, this study elucidates the group-level factors most salient for verbal and quantitative cognitive achievement, socioemotional development, and likelihood of obesity for children of immigrants in the Millennium Cohort Study. By harnessing a range of indicators of both sending- and receiving-country context in three-level growth models, this paper finds that group-level average education, proportion with refugee status, and measured discrimination are significantly associated with the outcomes of children of immigrants, even in models controlling for individual factors. Furthermore, although sending-country values are insignificant for achievement and development, such values are significantly associated with the likelihood of childhood obesity.