14 November: PhD Defence “Ethnic segregation in housing, schools, and Neighbourhoods in the Netherlands” by Cheng Boon Ong

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Date(s) - 14/11/14
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Maastricht University Aula, Minderbroedersberg 4-6


PhD defence

Ethnic segregation in housing, schools, and Neighbourhoods in the Netherlands

Cheng Boon Ong

Maastricht Graduate School of Governance / UNU-MERIT


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.