Direct and Indirect Influences of School System on Youth Delinquent Offending Among Migrant and Native-Born Students in Eight Countries

  • Renske S. van der GaagEmail author
  • Majone Steketee


Stratified school systems select children into different educational tracks according to ability, in some countries as early as age 10. Tracks substantially determine future education and career opportunities. Comprehensive school system have no such selection before age 15. Children with a migrant background are often overrepresented in lower tracks, and possible negative consequences may affect them more than native-born children. We use data from the third wave of the International Self-Report Delinquency study (ISRD3) to examine direct and indirect influences of school system on self-reported life-time offending of native and migrant students in eight countries, four countries with comprehensive and four with stratified school systems. We find that migrant students are indeed overrepresented in lower tracks and report higher levels of offending across all tracks than native students. No such differences exist for comprehensive systems. Our analysis also shows a stronger (direct) relationship between lower-track enrolment and offending for migrant than for native students, while (indirect) protective influences in the school system are reduced and risk influences are magnified for migrant students.


Youth delinquency Offending Migrant Native Tracking School system 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Verwey-Jonker InstituteUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural ScienceErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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