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The Economic Returns to the Knowledge and Use of a Second Official Language: English in Quebec and French in the Rest-of-Canada

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Author Info

  • Louis N. Christofides
  • Robert Swidinsky

Abstract

In a country with two official languages, such as Canada, the demand for bilingualism may lead individuals born with one mother tongue to acquire the second official language. Knowledge of an additional official language may be associated with enhanced earnings for two reasons; its actual value in the workplace, or its value as a screening mechanism for ability. Previously available data did not indicate whether bilingual language skills were actually being used at work. However, the 2001 Census reports, for the first time, the primary and the secondary languages that an individual uses at work. Conditioning on both language knowledge and language use allow us to estimate the additional earnings that can be attributed to the use of a second official language. We find very substantial, statistically significant, rewards to second official use in Quebec and much smaller, not statistically significant, effects in the Rest-of-Canada.

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File URL: http://papers.econ.ucy.ac.cy/RePEc/papers/04-10.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cyprus Department of Economics in its series University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics with number 04-2010.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucy:cypeua:04-2010

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Web page: http://www.econ.ucy.ac.cy

Related research

Keywords: Wages; language knowledge; language use;

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References

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  1. Gilles Grenier, 1987. "Earnings by Language Group in Quebec in 1980 and Emigration from Quebec between 1976 and 1981," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(4), pages 774-91, November.
  2. David Albouy, 2008. "The wage gap between Francophones and Anglophones: a Canadian perspective, 1970-2000," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1211-1238, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Jacques Melitz, 2012. "A Framework for Analyzing Language and Welfare," Heriot-Watt University Economics Discussion Papers 1212, Department of Economics, School of Management and Languages, Heriot Watt University.
  2. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2014. "International Migration and the Economics of Language," IZA Discussion Papers 7880, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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