The Returns to English-Language Skills in India
AbstractIndia's colonial legacy and linguistic diversity give English an important role in its economy, and this role has expanded due to globalization in recent decades. It is widely believed that there are sizable economic returns to English-language skills in India, but the extent of these returns is unknown due to lack of a microdata set containing measures of both earnings and English ability. In this paper, we use a newly available data set – the India Human Development Survey, 2005 – to quantify the effects of English-speaking ability on wages. We find that being fluent in English (compared to not speaking any English) increases hourly wages of men by 34%, which is as much as the return to completing secondary school and half as much as the return to completing a Bachelor’s degree. Being able to speak a little English significantly increases male hourly wages 13%. There is considerable heterogeneity in returns to English. More experienced and more educated workers receive higher returns to English. The complementarity between English skills and education appears to have strengthened over time. Only the more educated among young workers earn a premium for English skill, whereas older workers across all education groups do.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4802.
Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2013, 61 (2), 335-367
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Other versions of this item:
- Mehtabul Azam & Aimee Chin & Nishith Prakash, 2010. "The Returns to English-Language Skills in India," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1002, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
- Mehtabul Azam & Aimee Chin & Nishith Prakash, 2011. "The Returns to English-Language Skills in India," Working papers 2012-29, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-03-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-CWA-2010-03-28 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-EDU-2010-03-28 (Education)
- NEP-HRM-2010-03-28 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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