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The complementarity of language and other human capital: immigrant earnings in Canada

  • Chiswick, Barry R.
  • Miller, Paul W.

This paper analyzes the effects of language practice on earnings among adult male immigrants in Canada using the 1991 Census. Earnings are shown to increase with schooling, pre-immigration experience and duration in Canada, as well as with proficiency in the official languages (English and French). Using selectivity correction techniques, it is shown that there is complementarity between language skills and both schooling and pre-immigration experience. That is, greater proficiency in the official languages enhances the effects on earnings of schooling and pre-immigration labor market experience. Language proficiency and post-migration experience appear to be substitutes, that is, those with greater proficiency have a smaller effect of time in Canada on earnings.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VB9-495661B-3/2/361c5e8a41b3eeee29abd9dafbdc91f4
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 22 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Pages: 469-480

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:22:y:2003:i:5:p:469-480
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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  1. Pendakur, K. & Pendakur, R., 1999. "Speaking in Tongues: Language as both Human Capital and Ethnicity," Discussion Papers dp99-10, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  2. Abbott, M.G. & Beach, C.M., 1988. "Immigrant Earnings Differentials and Cohort Effects in Canada," Papers 1988-1, Queen's at Kingston - Sch. of Indus. Relat. Papers in Industrial Relations.
  3. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2001. "A model of destination-language acquisition: Application to male immigrants in Canada," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 391-409, August.
  6. 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.
  7. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1983. "Generalized Econometric Models with Selectivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 507-12, March.
  8. Barry R. Chiswick, 2000. "A Model of Immigrant Language Acquisition: Application to Male Immigrants in Canada," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 149, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  9. Joseph Schaafsma & Arthur Sweetman, 2001. "Immigrant earnings: age at immigration matters," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1066-1099, November.
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