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The Returns to Language Skills in the US Labor Market

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  • Isphording, Ingo E.

    ()
    (IZA)

  • Sinning, Mathias

    ()
    (University of Queensland)

Abstract

This paper uses data from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) to study the returns to language skills of child and adult migrants in the US labor market. We employ an instrumental variable strategy, which exploits differences in language acquisition profiles between immigrants from English- and non-English-speaking countries of origin, to address problems related to endogeneity and measurement error. We find significantly positive returns to language skills and demonstrate that education is an important channel through which language skills affect wages of child migrants. Although the returns of adult migrants do not depend on education, we find that child and adult migrants exhibit similar returns to language skills.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7080.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7080

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Keywords: international migration; language skills; labor productivity;

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References

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  1. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2010. "Age at Arrival, English Proficiency, and Social Assimilation among US Immigrants," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 165-92, January.
  2. Christian Dustmann & Arthur Van Soest, 2002. "Language and the earnings of immigrants," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(3), pages 473-492, April.
  3. Kossoudji, Sherrie A, 1988. "English Language Ability and the Labor Market Opportunities of Hispanic and East Asian Immigrant Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 205-28, April.
  4. Chiswick, Barry R, 1991. "Speaking, Reading, and Earnings among Low-Skilled Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 149-70, April.
  5. George J. Borjas, 2002. "Homeownership in the Immigrant Population," NBER Working Papers 8945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
  7. Alicia Adsera & Mariola Pytlikova, 2012. "The role of language in shaping international migration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1206, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  8. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-30, April.
  9. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
  10. Geoffrey Carliner, 1981. "Wage Differences by Language Group and the Market for Language Skills in Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(3), pages 384-399.
  11. Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2005. "Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill," NBER Working Papers 11599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Augustin de Coulon & Francois-Charles Wolff, 2007. "Language proficiency of immigrants and misclassification," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(12), pages 857-861.
  13. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-88, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Ingo Isphording, 2013. "Disadvantages of Linguistic Origin – Evidence from Immigrant Literacy Scores," Ruhr Economic Papers, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen 0397, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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