Ethnic segregation in housing, schools and neigbourhoods in the Netherlands

Cheng Boon Ong,

In Western Europe, despite vacillating empirical results on “peer effects” or the independent effect of being in a segregated neighbourhood or school, segregation in neighbourhoods and schools remain indicators of social exclusion and cohesion in a society. The thesis covers three main themes of segregation: individual preferences for peer composition, nonlinear dynamics in peer composition, and peer effects. Based on the neoclassical economics approach, it focuses on the role of preferences in driving ethnic segregation processes. Among others, the thesis seeks to determine (i) if native Dutch and non-western minority homeowners have different preferences for neighbourhood ethnic composition, (ii) if students prefer to re-segregate into schools following a forced school closure; and (iii) if ethnic peer composition at the primary school-level has a long-term effect on one’s likelihood to drop out of high school. In addition, the thesis explores if and how public policy can mediate these preferences in order to influence segregation outcomes in schools and neighbourhoods.

About the speaker
Cheng is researcher with Maastricht University and the United Nations University research institute on innovation and technology (UNU-MERIT). Using microeconomic behavioural models and quantitative data analysis, she has produced high quality research papers in social segregation and inequality in housing, schools, and neighbourhoods. As part of her research Masters, Cheng was trained at the Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies in Luxembourg and the Research Institute for Work and Society in Belgium where she conducted comparative research in maternal employment using large-scale household survey data. At the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, she trained UNICEF staff on evidence-based policy analysis, co-designed a one-day migration course for social security officers, and delivered a seminar on ethnic segregation in schools as part of a diploma programme on ‘Child Rights in Egypt and Jordan’. Next to research and teaching, she has three years of technical cooperation experience as Project Coordinator for a multinational training project in social security sponsored by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). She is currently working on social protection in the ASEAN region with the International Labour Organisation’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

Date: 14 November 2014

Time: 12:00 - 13:30