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Occupational Selection in Multilingual Labor Markets: The Case of Catalonia

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  • Silvio Rendon

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Stony Brook University)

  • Nuria Quella

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Stony Brook University)

Abstract

In multilingual labor markets agents with high proficiency in more than one language may be selected into occupations that require high levels of skill in communicating with customers or writing reports in more than one language. In this paper we measure this effect in Catalonia, where two languages, Catalan and Spanish, coexist. Using census data for 1991 and 1996, and controlling for endogeneity of Catalan knowledge, we find that proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing Catalan reinforces selection into being employed, being an entrepreneur, and into white-collar occupations and communication-intensive jobs. In particular, being able to read and speak Catalan increases the probability of selection into white collar occupations by betwen 9 and 14 percentage points, while writing Catalan increases by 6 to 13 percentage points the probability of engaging in services, and government and educational activities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stony Brook University, Department of Economics in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 09-02.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:09-02

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Keywords: Language; Occupational Selection; Industry; Immigration; Skill Premium.;

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  1. Hutchinson, William K, 2002. "Does Ease of Communication Increase Trade? Commonality of Language and Bilateral Trade," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 544-56, December.
  2. Willis, Robert J & Rosen, Sherwin, 1979. "Education and Self-Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S7-36, October.
  3. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 1999. "Immigrant Earnings: Language Skills, Linguistic Concentrations and the Business Cycle," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 152, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  4. Barry R Chiswick & Paul W Miller, 2007. "Matching Language Proficiency to Occupation: The Effect on Immigrants' Earnings," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 07-07, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  5. Angrist, Joshua D & Lavy, Victor, 1997. "The Effect of a Change in Language of Instruction on the Returns to Schooling in Morocco," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S48-76, January.
  6. Dustmann, C. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 1998. "Language Fluency and Earnings: Estimation with Misclassified Language Indicators," Discussion Paper 1998-120, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Joshua Angrist & Aimee Chin & Ricardo Godoy, 2006. "Is Spanish-Only Schooling Responsible for the Puerto Rican Language Gap?," NBER Working Papers 12005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
  9. Nicolas Sauter, 2009. "Talking Trade: Language Barriers in Intra-Canadian Commerce," FIW Working Paper series 023, FIW.
  10. Eric D. Gould, 2002. "Rising Wage Inequality, Comparative Advantage, and the Growing Importance of General Skills in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 105-147, January.
  11. Bedassa Tadesse & Roger White, 2010. "Cultural distance as a determinant of bilateral trade flows: do immigrants counter the effect of cultural differences?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 147-152.
  12. William K. Hutchinson, 2002. "Does Ease of Communication Increase Trade? Commonality of Language and Bilateral Trade," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0217, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2013. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1322, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  2. Antonio Di Paolo & Josep Lluís Raymond, 2010. "Language knowledge and earnings in Catalonia," Working Papers XREAP2010-07, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jul 2010.

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