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The effects of official English laws on limited-English-proficient workers

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  • Madeline Zavodny

Abstract

Workers with limited English skills may suffer adverse effects in the labor market when states declare English the official language. If employers view official English laws as allowing or requiring them to adopt workplace English-only rules that lower the demand for limited-English-proficient workers, such laws may harm individuals who do not speak English very well. Using data from the 1980 and 1990 Census, I estimate whether the earnings and other labor market outcomes of workers who have limited English proficiency and live in states that adopted official English laws declined relative to other workers'. The results suggest a substantial decline in the annual earnings of men with limited English proficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 98-4.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Labor Economics, July 2000
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:98-4

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Keywords: Discrimination in employment ; Public policy;

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  1. Gruber, J. & Poterba, J., 1994. "Tax Incentives and the Decision to Purchase Health Insurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed," Working papers 94-10, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  5. Evelina Tainer, 1988. "English Language Proficiency and the Determination of Earnings among Foreign-Born Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(1), pages 108-122.
  6. Gilles Grenier, 1984. "The Effects of Language Characteristics on the Wages of Hispanic-American Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(1), pages 35-52.
  7. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1.
  8. Geoffrey Carliner, 1996. "The Wages and Language Skills of U.S. Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 5763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Chiswick, Barry R, 1991. "Speaking, Reading, and Earnings among Low-Skilled Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 149-70, April.
  10. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Maya N. Federman & David E. Harrington & Kathy J. Krynski, 2006. "The Impact of State Licensing Regulations on Low-Skilled Immigrants: The Case of Vietnamese Manicurists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 237-241, May.

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