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The acquisition and labor market value of four English skills: new evidence from NALS

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  • A. Gonzalez
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    Abstract

    This study investigates the factors related to proficiency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing English among immigrants using data from the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). It also investigates the earnings-English relationship for each of these four skills to establish which is more valuable in the labor market. English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, education, and years in the United States are found especially to affect English proficiency. Furthermore, the returns on oral proficiency are greater than the returns on literacy skills, although writing skills are more valuable than reading skills. The study concludes that English acquisition is a dynamic process, rather than static as argued by supporters of English-only legislation. An increased role for ESL courses in the acquisition of English is suggested as an alternative policy to English-only laws as long as the marginal cost is less than the marginal benefit. Copyright 2000 Western Economic Association International.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 3 (07)
    Pages: 259-269

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:18:y:2000:i:3:p:259-269

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    Cited by:
    1. Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd C. Neumann, 2007. "Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps," Working Papers 1042, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. LUIS LOCAY & TRACY L. REGAN & ARTHUR M. DIAMOND Jr, 2013. "The Effects Of Spanish-Language Background On Completed Schooling And Aptitude Test Scores," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 527-562, 01.
    3. Ingo Isphording, 2013. "Disadvantages of Linguistic Origin – Evidence from Immigrant Literacy Scores," Ruhr Economic Papers 0397, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Peter Schaeffer, 2005. "Human capital, migration strategy, and brain drain," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 319-335.

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