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A spatial economic perspective on language acquisition: segregation, networking, and assimilation of immigrants

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  • Raymond J G M Florax
  • Thomas de Graaff
  • Brigitte S Waldorf

Abstract

Immigration and multiculturalism are at the heart of modern Western societies. The issue of language acquisition of immigrants is intrinsically linked to immigration. We formally link language acquisition of immigrants to the relative size of the immigrant stock, employing a microeconomic trading framework. Our model allows for spatial interaction going beyond the immigrant’s area of residence, and explicitly incorporates spatial segregation. In addition, behavioral differences of immigrants with respect to their level of assimilation into the host country, as well as differences in networking within their own ethnic community, are accounted for. We test our model for four non-Western immigrant groups in the Netherlands at two different spatial scale levels. The empirical results reveal that there is only ambiguous support for the inverse relationship between size of the immigrant community and language acquisition or language proficiency in The Netherlands. We find instead that there is strong support for language acquisition and understanding being positively influenced by assimilation to the host country’s culture.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Pion Ltd, London in its journal Environment and Planning A.

Volume (Year): 37 (2005)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 1877-1897

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Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:37:y:2005:i:10:p:1877-1897

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  1. Harry Coccossis & Peter Nijkamp, 2007. "Regional Science in Perspective," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2007(2), pages 137-140.
  2. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 1999. "Immigrant Earnings: Language Skills, Linguistic Concentrations and the Business Cycle," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 152, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  3. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  4. Anselin, Luc & Bera, Anil K. & Florax, Raymond & Yoon, Mann J., 1996. "Simple diagnostic tests for spatial dependence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 77-104, February.
  5. Per-Anders Edin & Peter Fredriksson & Olof �slund, 2003. "Ethnic Enclaves And The Economic Success Of Immigrants - Evidence From A Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 329-357, February.
  6. B Waldorf, 1996. "The internal dynamic of international migration systems," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(4), pages 631-650, April.
  7. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Language skills and earnings among legalized aliens," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 63-89.
  8. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  9. 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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Cited by:
  1. de Graaff, Thomas & Nijkamp, Peter, 2010. "Socio-economic impacts of migrant clustering on Dutch neighbourhoods: In search of optimal migrant diversity," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 231-239, December.
  2. Euwals, Rob & Dagevos, Jaco & Gijsberts, Mérove & Roodenburg, Hans, 2007. "The Labour Market Position of Turkish Immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands: Reason for Migration, Naturalisation and Language Proficiency," IZA Discussion Papers 2683, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Julia Beckhusen & Raymond J.G.M. Florax & Thomas de Graaff & Jacques Poot & Brigitte Waldorf, 2012. "Living and Working in Ethnic Enclaves: Language Proficiency of Immigrants in U.S. Metropolitan Areas," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1203, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  4. Ceren Ozgen & Thomas de Graff, 2013. "Sorting out the impact of cultural diversity on innovative firms. An empirical analysis of Dutch micro-data," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2013012, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  5. Rob Euwals & Hans Roodenburg & J. Dagevos & M. Gijsberts, 2007. "The labour market position of Turkish immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands; reason for migration, naturalisation and language proficiency," CPB Discussion Paper 79, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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