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The Return to English in a Non-English Speaking Country: Russian Immigrants and Native Israelis in Israel

Author

Listed:
  • Lang Kevin

    () (Boston University, NBER and IZA)

  • Siniver Erez

    () (College of Management - Academic Studies)

Abstract

Using a unique sample of Russian immigrants and native Israelis, we examine the return to English knowledge. Panel and cross-section estimates of the return to English are substantial for highly educated immigrants and natives. Hebrew and English language acquisition contribute to immigrant/native earnings convergence, but most convergence is explained by other factors. While immigrants with low levels of education do not benefit from knowing English, native Israelis may. Conditional on occupation, English and Hebrew acquisition are largely orthogonal. Therefore earlier work on the importance of knowledge of the host-country language (Hebrew) is not significantly biased by unmeasured English knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Lang Kevin & Siniver Erez, 2009. "The Return to English in a Non-English Speaking Country: Russian Immigrants and Native Israelis in Israel," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-30, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:50
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    Cited by:

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    3. 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.
    4. Wang, Zhiling & de Graaff, Thomas & Nijkamp, Peter, 2017. "Look Who’s Talking: On the Heterogeneous Returns to Foreign Language Use at Work among Natives and Migrants in Europe," GLO Discussion Paper Series 104, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Mehtabul Azam & Aimee Chin & Nishith Prakash, 2013. "The Returns to English-Language Skills in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 335-367.
    6. Ingo E. Isphording, 2013. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills of Immigrants in Spain," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(4), pages 443-461, December.
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    8. Stöhr, Tobias, 2015. "The returns to occupational foreign language use: Evidence from Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 86-98.
    9. Isphording, Ingo, 2013. "Returns to Local and Foreign Language Skills – Causal Evidence from Spain," Ruhr Economic Papers 398, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Jacek Liwiński, 2019. "The wage premium from foreign language skills," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 691-711, November.
    11. Wang, Zhiling & de Graaff, Thomas & Nijkamp, Peter, 2018. "Barriers of Culture, Networks, and Language in International Migration: A Review," REGION, European Regional Science Association, vol. 5, pages 73-89.
    12. Chr. Hjorth-Andersen, 2006. "The Relative Importance of the European Languages," Discussion Papers 06-23, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    13. Fenoll, Ainoa Aparicio & Kuehn, Zoë, 2019. "Immigrants move where their skills are scarce: Evidence from English proficiency," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    14. Antonio di Paolo, 2011. "Knowledge of catalan, public/prívate sector choice and earnings: Evidence from a double sample selection model," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 197(2), pages 9-35, June.
    15. Astghik Mavisakalyan, 2017. "Returns to language skills in transition economies," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 416-416, December.
    16. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2016. "Language and consumption," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 135-151.
    17. Jain, Tarun & Mukhopadhyay, Abhiroop & Prakash, Nishith & Rakesh, Raghav, 2018. "Labor Market Effects of High School Science Majors in a High STEM Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 11934, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. David Clingingsmith, 2014. "Industrialization and Bilingualism in India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(1), pages 73-109.
    19. Alejandro Donado, 2017. "Foreign Languages and their Impact on Unemployment," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 31(3), pages 265-287, September.
    20. Wang, Haining & Smyth, Russell & Cheng, Zhiming, 2017. "The economic returns to proficiency in English in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 91-104.
    21. Jain, Tarun & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha, 2019. "Barriers to skill acquisition: Evidence from English training in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 314-325.
    22. Makó, Ágnes, 2019. "A közismereti tudás és az elkötelezettség hatása a szakiskolát végzettek munkaerőpiaci esélyeire [General knowledge and commitment as factors in the labour-market chances of those completing vocati," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(4), pages 434-458.
    23. Donado, Alejandro, 2014. "Foreign Languages and their Impact on Income and Unemployment," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100288, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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