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Age at Arrival, English Proficiency, and Social Assimilation among US Immigrants

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  • Hoyt Bleakley
  • Aimee Chin

Abstract

Are the English proficiency and social outcomes of US immigrants the result of their cultural preferences or of more fundamental constraints? Using 2000 census microdata, we relate the English proficiency, marriage, fertility, and residential location variables of immigrants to their age at the time of arrival in the United States, and, in particular, whether that age fell within the "critical period" of language acquisition. We interpret the differences between younger and older arrivers as effects of English language skills and construct an instrumental variable for English language skills. Two-stage-least-squares estimates suggest English proficiency increases the likelihood of divorce and intermarriage. It decreases fertility and, for some, ethnic enclave residence. (JEL J11, J13, J61, R23, Z13)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 165-92

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:165-92

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.2.1.165
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  8. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2008. "What Holds Back the Second Generation?: The Intergenerational Transmission of Language Human Capital Among Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 267-298.
  9. Gray Swicegood & Frank Bean & Elizabeth Stephen & Wolfgang Opitz, 1988. "Language usage and fertility in the Mexican-origin population of the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 17-33, February.
  10. Paul A. David, 2005. "Reforming the Taxation of Human Capital: A Modest Proposal for Promoting Economic Growth," HEW 0502002, EconWPA.
  11. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
  12. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-88, April.
  13. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1988. "A New Set of International Comparisons of Real Product and Price Levels Estimates for 130 Countries, 1950-1985," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
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