In the project application, we wrote the following:
Ethnic segregation in local communities and schools involves individuals and families, and their preferences and decisions on where to live and what schools to send their children to. This project aims to provide new understandings of the dynamics of ethnic segregation across schools and neighborhoods.
Schools and neighborhoods are important for children, who spend most of their time in local environments. The rapid social changes the last 10-20 years underlines the importance of better knowledge of the causes and consequences of segregation dynamics. Earlier studies have reached mixed conclusions on the short-term impact of segregation on children's educational attainment, and few studies have investigated long-term effects of segregation on their life chances. And, perhaps due to the rapidness of these transitions, the causes of segregation in Western Europe are even less investigated.
The primary objectives of the project:
- To provide new understandings of the dynamics of ethnic segregation across schools and neighborhoods.
- To use register data for solid empirical analyses of the non-random selection of individuals into schools and neighborhoods causing local ethnic and socio-economic segregation where children grow up.
- To measure the consequences of segregation across schools and local communities on children?s short- and long-term life chances.
- To have an explicit focus on important underlying mechanisms, such as peer-effects.
The secondary objectives of the project:
- To analyze children's school and neighborhood exposure over a longer time-period than previous studies, to scrutinize both the duration and the timing of exposure.
- To explore the complex and non-linear segregation dynamics to see if there are threshold levels over which families with Norwegian-born parents decide to move.
- Third, to combine methodological approaches, such as descriptive analysis, econometric modelling and agent-based simulation.
THE MAIN FINDINGS OF THE PROJECT
We have drawn five main conclusions from this project that may inform policy development and public debates.
- Oslo is a segregated city along several dimensions, but segregation levels are moderate in a comparative perspective.
- Families and individuals' moving patterns and residential choices contribute to maintaining segregation in schools and neighborhoods.
- Adolescents' school and neighborhoods are not major determinants of their later-life outcomes. Attending schools or residing in neighborhoods with high minority concentrations does not have major adverse impacts on children's outcomes (at least for the outcomes we have studied), although socioeconomic composition may have a small, non-linear impact.
- Peer influences are largely small, heterogeneous, and operate though indirect and contradictory mechanisms (relative grading, other school characteristics, motivation and compensating resource allocation, in addition to impacts on the learning environment).
- The egalitarian policies that aim to reduce neighborhood and school inequalities through compensating resource allocation seem successful in limiting the impact of schools and neighborhoods.
Our main conclusion therefore, is that despite substantial segregation, neighborhood and school effects are smaller in Norway and Sweden than one might expect. In particular, previous US studies have found stronger impacts of neighborhoods and schools than we have found. We believe this is mainly due to the overall low level of inequality and the compensatory policies in the Scandinavian welfare states. Thus, contextual effects on children's life chances do exist in other contexts, and future policies should continue to prevent a development where such effects might get stronger here.
This project will have positive long-lasting consequences for the future of social science in Norway.
For the research field, we are reporting contextual effects in Scandinavian welfare state settings. As we have had access to better data than most researchers have, we have been able to make substantial contributions to the international research frontier.
At the university, the project has given us opportunities to recruit more researchers into quantitative research based on solid data and analytical modelling. By providing funding for empirical studies of segregation based on solid register data, this project has been important for our research group, Social Inequalities and Population Dynamics, which has been rated as excellent, producing frontline research (SAMEVAL, 2018).
For the society, we have suggested a number of detailed policy advices, related to the fact that we now understand better both the dynamics and consequences of ethnic neighborhood and school segregation.
Ethnic segregation in local communities and schools involves individuals and families, and their preferences and decisions on where to live and what schools to send their children to.
Ethnic segregation also has a socio-economic component, reflecting differences in families financial resources and prices in the housing market. Segregation may also have a normative side, when individuals within a local community share commonly held prejudices and stereotypical beliefs about group differences related to ethnicity, religion, etc.
Schools and neighbourhoods are of such importance for children, who spend most of their time in local environments. The rapid social changes the last 10-20 years underlines the importance of better knowledge of the causes and consequences of segregation dynamics. Earlier studies have reached mixed conclusions on the short-term impact of segregation on childrens educational attainment, and few studies have investigated long-term effects of segregation on their life chances. And, perhaps due to the speed of the transitions, the causes of segregation in Western Europe are even less investigated.
This project is divided in two parts, one sub-project on short- and long-term consequences of ethnic school- and neighbourhood segregation for childrens life chances, and one sub-project on the causes and dynamics of ethnic school- and neighbourhood segregation. Both parts will use the rich register data of Norway, in addition to simulation techniques. We will in all analyses differentiate between girls and boys that are native born of Norwegian-born parents and native and foreign born children With immigrant backgrounds, such as Pakistani, Indians, etc. Our aim is to provide significant new understandings of the dynamics of ethnic segregation in contemporary immigrant-receiving societies and increase our knowledge about the consequences and causes of ethnic segregation in schools and neighbourhoods.