Negative and Positive Assimilation, Skill Transferability, and Linguistic Distance
AbstractThere are two complementary models of immigrants’ economic and social adjustment – the positive assimilation model of Chiswick (1978, 1979), and the negative assimilation model of Chiswick and Miller (2011). The negative assimilation model is applicable for immigrants from countries that are very similar in terms of the transferability of skills, culture, and labor market institutions to the host country, and has been tested previously primarily using migration among the English-speaking developed countries. This paper generalizes the negative/positive assimilation models through analyzing the post-arrival earnings profiles of immigrants in the US from non-English-speaking countries according to the linguistic distance of their mother tongue from English. Using data on adult male immigrants from the 2000 US Census, it is shown that all groups of immigrants from non-English-speaking countries are characterized by positive assimilation. Earnings in the immediate post-arrival period are lowest for the language groups furthest from English, and the increase in earnings with duration is steeper the further the immigrant's mother tongue is from English. The linguistic distance of the immigrants' mother tongue from the destination language appears, therefore, to play a crucial role in generating the inverse relationship between post-arrival earnings growth and the initial earnings disadvantage documented in most studies of immigrant earnings.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5420.
Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Human Capital, 2012, 6 (1), 35-55
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Other versions of this item:
- Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 2012. "Negative and Positive Assimilation, Skill Transferability, and Linguistic Distance," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 35 - 55.
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-01-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-LTV-2011-01-23 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-MIG-2011-01-23 (Economics of Human Migration)
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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IZA Discussion Papers
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