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Did the Americanization Movement Succeed? An Evaluation of the Effect of English-Only and Compulsory Schooling Laws on Immigrants

Adriana Lleras-Muney and Allison Shertzer

American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2015, vol. 7, issue 3, 258-90

Abstract: We provide the first estimates of the effect of statutes requiring English as the language of instruction and compulsory schooling laws on the school enrollment, work, literacy, and English fluency of immigrant children during the Americanization period (1910-1930). English-only statutes moderately increased the literacy of certain foreign-born children, particularly those living in cities or whose parents were not fluent in English. However, these laws had no impact on immigrants' eventual labor market outcomes or measures of social integration (from 1940 census and WWII enlistment records). Only laws regulating the age when children could work significantly affected immigrant outcomes. (JEL I21, I26, I28, J13, J15, N31, N32)

JEL-codes: I21 I26 I28 J13 J15 N31 N32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20120219
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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:7:y:2015:i:3:p:258-90