Systems of Exclusion - Immigration and Inequalities (a multilevel analysis)
Sociology University of Bremen Bremen, Germany
International migration accelerated during the last decades, thereby creating new and more diverse patterns of movements. Hence, experiences and challenges with regard to migration and integration vary considerably across Europe. Most European countries are immigration countries today and population growth is becoming increasingly dependent on the contribution of net migration and higher birth rates among immigrant populations. In knowledge-based economies the battle for talent is becoming as important as the battle for inward investment and a successful recruitment of skilled migrants can offer significant comparative advantages. But there is also a persisting need for unskilled labour migration in times of internationalization and a broadening of the tertiary sector, particularly in countries where rising living costs make lower paid jobs unattractive to the native population.
Thus, Europe is dependent on immigration. For the potential advantages of migration to be maximised however, it is crucial that immigration is accompanied by social integration. As European countries feature diverging immigration backgrounds, they established differing institutions that shape integration trajectories of immigrants. The educational system plays a crucial role for integration since educational credentials are a prerequisite for labour market attainment. Further, educational attainment fosters social assimilation by providing knowledge about the host country and by facilitating contact with natives. As educational systems but also other relevant institutions as labour market regulations and welfare provision vary across Europe, integration outcomes vary accordingly.
The paper seeks to explain differing educational outcomes of immigrants in Europe by testing the impact of various contextual factors. In a multilevel approach, data from PISA 2006 with additional data on a national level will be analysed. The dependent variable is the risk, not to reach the first proficiency level in reading as defined in the PISA assessment framework. This is a strong indicator for threatening social exclusion. By testing predictors that measure features of educational systems, economic performance and social policies as well as attitudes towards immigrants, the paper sheds light on the conditions that favour or hinder the integration of immigrants. With this approach it is possible to identify which characteristics of educational systems produce more or less inequality.