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The Earnings of Linguistic Minorities: French in Canada and Spanish in the United States

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  • David E. Bloom
  • Gilles Grenier

Abstract

This paper measures and compares the relative earnings of French and English speakers in Canada, and of Spanish and English speakers in the U.S., in the 1970s and 1980s. In Canada, the earnings gap between French and English speakers narrowed over time, especially in Quebec. This decline appears to have been caused primarily by a sharp increase in the relative demand for French-speaking workers within Quebec during the 1970s and 1980s. By 1986, nearly all of the remaining earnings gap between French and English speakers in Canada could be accounted for by differences in annual hours worked, marital status, age, education, and region. By contrast, the earnings gap between Spanish and English speakers in the United States remained high during the 1970s and 1980s and is not largely accounted for by differences in a standard set of control variables. If anything, there appears to have been a slight deterioration in the relative earnings of Spanish speakers in the U.S. during the 1970s. The most likely explanation for this change is an increase in the relative supply of Spanish speakers, due mainly to high levels of immigration.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3660.

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Date of creation: Mar 1991
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Publication status: published as The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 106, No. 2, pp. 557-586, (May 1991).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3660

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  1. McManus, Walter S, 1985. "Labor Market Costs of Language Disparity: An Interpretation of Hispanic Earnings Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 818-27, September.
  2. Daniel M. Shapiro & Morton Stelcner, 1982. "Language Legislation and Male-Female Earnings Differentials in Quebec," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 8(1), pages 106-113, Winter.
  3. 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.
  4. Walter S. McManus, 1990. "Labor Market Effects of Language Enclaves: Hispanic Men in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(2), pages 228-252.
  5. Hocevar, Toussaint, 1975. "Equilibria in Linguistic Minority Markets," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 337-57.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Grenier, Gilles, 1988. "Participation au marché du travail, revenus et langues au Québec : le cas des femmes mariées," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 64(1), pages 5-22, mars.
  9. 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.
  10. Carliner, Geoffrey, 1980. "Wages, Earnings and Hours of First, Second, and Third Generation American Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(1), pages 87-102, January.
  11. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Lavoie, Marc & Saint-Germain, Maurice, 1991. "Disparités linguistiques de revenu au Canada selon la langue parlée à la maison," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 67(3), pages 356-380, septembre.

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