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Multiple language usage and earnings in Western Europe

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  • Donald R. Williams

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to estimate the return to multiple language usage in the workplace. Design/methodology/approach – This article aims to estimate the effect that using an additional language at work has on earnings for a sample of workers in the European Community Household Panel survey. OLS and fixed-effects specifications of log-earnings regressions are estimated by country with controls for standard human capital, job, and personal characteristics. Findings – The results indicate that the use of a second language in the workplace raises earnings by 3 to 5 percent in several Western European nations, with even greater returns found in some. The estimated returns are found to be correlated with the extent of tourism in the country, but not other measures of trade. Originality/value – This is the first paper to estimate returns to usage of an additional language in the workplace across the European Union, and contributes to our knowledge of the benefits of multi-lingualism.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Manpower.

Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 372-393

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:32:y:2011:i:4:p:372-393

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Related research

Keywords: Earnings; Human capital; Language usage; Languages; Returns to education; Western Europe;

References

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  1. Dustmann, Christian & Fabbri, Francesca, 2000. "Language Proficiency and Labour Market Performance of Immigrants in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 2487, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Barry R. Chiswick, 1998. "Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 253-271.
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  12. Richard Fry & B. Lindsay Lowell, 2003. "The value of bilingualism in the U.S. labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 128-141, October.
  13. Lindley, Joanne, 2002. "The English Language Fluency and Earnings of Ethnic Minorities in Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(4), pages 467-87, September.
  14. 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.
  15. McManus, Walter S, 1985. "Labor Market Costs of Language Disparity: An Interpretation of Hispanic Earnings Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 818-27, September.
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  17. Ingrid Tucci & Gert G. Wagner, 2003. "Fremdsprachenkenntnisse als wichtige Zusatzqualifikation im Dienstleistungssektor," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 70(41), pages 611-615.
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Cited by:
  1. Anghel, Brindusa & Cabrales, Antonio & Carro, Jesus, 2012. "Evaluating a bilingual education program in Spain: the impact beyond foreign language learning," CEPR Discussion Papers 8995, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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