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Language proficiency and labour market performance of immigrants in the UK

  • Christian Dustmann
  • Francesca Fabbri

This paper uses two recent UK surveys to investigate the determinants of language proficiency and the effect of language on earnings and employment probabilities of non-white immigrants. We address the problem of endogenous choice of language acquisition and measurement error in language variables. Our results show that language acquisition, employment probabilities, as well as earnings differ widely across non-white immigrants, according to their ethnic origin. Language proficiency has a positive effect on employment probabilities, and lack of English fluency leads to earning losses. Copyright 2003 Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 113 (2003)
Issue (Month): 489 (07)
Pages: 695-717

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:113:y:2003:i:489:p:695-717
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  1. Lorraine Dearden, 1999. "Qualifications and earnings in Britain: how reliable are conventional OLS estimates of the returns to education?," IFS Working Papers W99/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Eckstein, Z. & Weiss, Y., 1999. "The Integration of Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in the Israeli Labor Market," Papers 33-99, Tel Aviv.
  3. Mark B. Stewart, 1982. "On Least Squares Estimation When the Dependent Variable is Grouped," Working Papers 539, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Stephen Nickell, 1979. "A Picture of Male Unemployment in Britain," Working Papers 503, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Blackaby, David H, et al, 1997. "A Picture of Male and Female Unemployment among Britain's Ethnic Minorities," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(2), pages 182-97, May.
  6. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 905, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Michael A Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, . "The English Language Fluency and Occupational Success of Ethnic Minority Immigrant Men Living in English Metropolitan Areas," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 99/4, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  8. Hatton, Timothy J. & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 1998. "Migration, Migrants and Policy in the United Kingdom," CEPR Discussion Papers 1960, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Chiswick, Barry R, 1980. "The Earnings of White and Coloured Male Immigrants in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(185), pages 81-87, February.
  10. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-88, April.
  11. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
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