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The Impact of Language Ability on Employment and Earnings of Britain's Ethnic Communities


  • Leslie, Derek
  • Lindley, Joanne


The Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities contains useful information about the language ability of Britain's non-whites as well as a wealth of comparative information for whites. The paper attempts to establish how much of the lower unemployment and higher earnings enjoyed by whites is the result of a comparative advantage in language. Language is shown to contribute to a part of the non-white disadvantage, but after language effects are removed non-whites males still have higher unemployment rates and lower earnings. Language disadvantage among non-white females leads to higher inactivity rates rather than more unemployment. Copyright 2001 by The London School of Economics and Political Science

Suggested Citation

  • Leslie, Derek & Lindley, Joanne, 2001. "The Impact of Language Ability on Employment and Earnings of Britain's Ethnic Communities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(272), pages 587-606, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:68:y:2001:i:272:p:587-606

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Philip A. Haile & Ali Hortaçsu & Grigory Kosenok, 2008. "On the Empirical Content of Quantal Response Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 180-200, March.
    2. Cox, James C. & Friedman, Daniel & Gjerstad, Steven, 2007. "A tractable model of reciprocity and fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-45, April.
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    1. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2015. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(4), pages 407-421, April.
    2. Yann Algan & Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Allan Manning, 2010. "The Economic Situation of First ans Second-Generation in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/536kq4edtr8, Sciences Po.
    3. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2011. "Change and continuity among minority communities in Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 541-568, April.
    4. Yann Algan & Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Alan Manning, 2010. "The Economic Situation of First and Second-Generation Immigrants in France, Germany and the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(542), pages 4-30, February.
    5. Sumon Kumar Bhaumik & Manisha Chakrabarty, 2007. "Is Education the Panacea for Economic Deprivation of Muslims? Evidence from Wage Earners in India, 1987-2004," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp858, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    6. Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2003. "Immigrant Job Search In The Uk:Evidence From Panel Data," Paul Frijters Discussion Papers 2003-2, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    7. Aurélien Portuese, 2012. "Law and economics of the European multilingualism," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 279-325, October.
    8. Roman, Monica & Goschin, Zizi, 2011. "Does religion matter? Exploring economic performance differences among Romanian emigrants," MPRA Paper 31779, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Algan, Yann & Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht & Manning, Alan, 2009. "The Economic Situation of First- and Second-Generation Immigrants in France, Germany, and the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 4514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Robert Elliott & Joanne Kathryn Lindley, 2006. "Immigrant Wage Differentials, Ethnicity and Occupational Clustering," Working Papers 2006008, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised May 2006.
    11. Miranda, Alfonso & Zhu, Yu, 2013. "The Causal Effect of Deficiency at English on Female Immigrants' Labor Market Outcomes in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 7841, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Williams, Donald R., 2006. "The Economic Returns to Multiple Language Usage in Western Europe," IRISS Working Paper Series 2006-07, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    13. Elena Vidal-Coso & Pau Miret-Gamundi, 2014. "The labour trajectories of immigrant women in Spain: Are there signs of upward social mobility?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(13), pages 337-380, August.
    14. Longhi, Simonetta & Nicoletti, Cheti & Platt, Lucinda, 2009. "Decomposing pay gaps across the wage distribution: investigating inequalities of ethno-religious groups and disabled people," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-31, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    15. Burton, Jonathan & Nandi, Alita & Platt, Lucinda, 2008. "Who are the UK's minority ethnic groups? Issues of identification and measurement in a longitudinal study," Understanding Society Working Paper Series 2008-02, Understanding Society at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    16. Stephen Drinkwater & John Eade & Michal Garapich, 2006. "Poles Apart? EU Enlargement and the Labour Market Outcomes of immigrants in the UK," School of Economics Discussion Papers 1706, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
    17. Clark, Ken & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2005. "Dynamics and Diversity: Ethnic Employment Differences in England and Wales, 1991-2001," IZA Discussion Papers 1698, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Victor Ginsburgh & Juan Prieto-Rodriguez, 2013. "Is there a Gender Bias in the Use of Foreign Languages in Europe?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 552-566, November.
    19. Blackaby, D.H. & Leslie, D.G. & Murphy, P.D. & O'Leary, N.C., 2005. "Born in Britain: How are native ethnic minorities faring in the British labour market?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 370-375, September.
    20. Ken Clark & Joanne Lindley, 2009. "Immigrant assimilation pre and post labour market entry: evidence from the UK Labour Force Survey," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(1), pages 175-198, January.
    21. Haile, Getinet Astatike, 2013. "Are You Unhappy Having Minority Co-Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 7423, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Saarela, Jan & Finnas, Fjalar, 2003. "Unemployment and native language: the Finnish case," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 59-80, March.
    23. Zizi Goschin & Monica Roman, 2011. "Religious Affiliation And Economic Performance Of Romanian Emigrants. An Empirical Approach," ERSA conference papers ersa11p686, European Regional Science Association.
    24. Donald R. Williams, 2011. "Multiple language usage and earnings in Western Europe," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 372-393, July.
    25. Shirley Dex & Jo Lindley, 2007. "Labour market job matching for UK minority ethnic groups," Working Papers 2007003, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2007.

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