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Mikko Silliman

Ellen Sahlström, Mikko Silliman.

We study the extent and consequences of biases against immigrants exhibited by high school teachers in Finland. Compared to native students, immigrant students receive 0.06 standard deviation units lower scores from teachers than from blind graders. This effect is almost entirely driven by grading penalties incurred by high-performing immigrant students and is largest in subjects where teachers have more discretion in grading. While teacher-assigned grades on the matriculation exam are not used for tertiary enrollment decisions, we show that immigrant students who attend schools with biased teachers are less likely to continue to higher education.

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Matthew A. Lenard, Mikko Silliman.

We study the effects of informal social interactions on academic achievement and behavior using idiosyncratic variation in peer groups stemming from changes in bus routes across elementary, middle, and high school. In early grades, a one standard-deviation change in the value-added of same-grade bus peers corresponds to a 0.01 SD change in academic performance and a 0.03 SD change in behavior; by high school, these magnitudes grow to 0.04 SD and 0.06 SD. These findings suggest that student interactions outside the classroom—especially in adolescence—may be an important factor in the education production function.

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