IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The returns to occupational foreign language use: Evidence from Germany

Listed author(s):
  • Stöhr, Tobias

This paper analyzes the wage premia associated with workers' occupational use of foreign languages in Germany. After eliminating time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity and other confounding factors, sizable returns of about 0.12 log points to applying fluent English skills are found in the general population, while the point estimate for immigrants is 0.26 log points. Returns to occupational use of other foreign languages are, if anything, restricted to a few specialized occupations. I find evidence that the particularly large returns of immigrants originate in parts of the service sector that are linked to imports and exports. As immigrants do not earn significant wage premia for applying their native language on the job in addition to those for English, any trade-fostering potential of immigrants is more likely to be unlocked by complementary fluency in the two business languages German and English.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927537115000056
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 32 (2015)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 86-98

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:32:y:2015:i:c:p:86-98
DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2015.01.004
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
  2. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2010. "Occupational language requirements and the value of English in the US labor market," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 353-372, January.
  3. Victor A. Ginsburgh & Juan Prieto-Rodriguez, 2011. "Returns to Foreign Languages of Native Workers in the European Union," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(3), pages 599-618, April.
  4. 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.
  5. Longhi, Simonetta & Brynin, Malcolm, 2010. "Occupational change in Britain and Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 655-666, August.
  6. George J. Borjas & Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2011. "Substitution Between Immigrants, Natives, and Skill Groups," NBER Working Papers 17461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2002. "Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(1), pages 31-57.
  8. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2016. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 3, pages 81-115 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  9. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Peri, Giovanni, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," CEPR Discussion Papers 6916, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. D'Amuri, Francesco & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Peri, Giovanni, 2010. "The labor market impact of immigration in Western Germany in the 1990s," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 550-570, May.
  11. Giovanni Peri & Francisco Requena-Silvente, 2010. "The trade creation effect of immigrants: evidence from the remarkable case of Spain," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1433-1459, November.
  12. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  13. Pope, Devin G., 2008. "Benefits of bilingualism: Evidence from Mormon missionaries," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 234-242, April.
  14. Amelie Constant & Douglas S. Massey, 2003. "Self-selection, earnings, and out-migration: A longitudinal study of immigrants to Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(4), pages 631-653, November.
  15. Ott Toomet, 2011. "Learn English, Not the Local Language! Ethnic Russians in the Baltic States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 526-531, May.
  16. David H. Autor & Michael J. Handel, 2013. "Putting Tasks to the Test: Human Capital, Job Tasks, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages 59-96.
  17. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:57:y:2003:i:1:p:128-141 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Melitz, Jacques, 2008. "Language and foreign trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 667-699, May.
  19. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Christina Gathmann & Uta Schönberg, 2010. "How General Is Human Capital? A Task-Based Approach," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-49, 01.
  21. Kusum Mundra, 2012. "Immigration and Trade Creation for the U.S.: Role of Immigrant Occupation," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2012-03, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
  22. Christian Dustmann & Arthur Van Soest, 2002. "Language and the Earnings of Immigrants," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(3), pages 473-492, April.
  23. Abdurrahman Aydemir & George J. Borjas, 2011. "Attenuation Bias in Measuring the Wage Impact of Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 69-113, 01.
  24. Mundra, Kusum, 2012. "Immigration and Trade Creation for the U.S.: The Role of Immigrant Occupation," IZA Discussion Papers 7073, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Albert Saiz & Elena Zoido, 2005. "Listening to What the World Says: Bilingualism and Earnings in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 523-538, August.
  26. repec:zbw:rwirep:0398 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Richard Fry & B. Lindsay Lowell, 2003. "The Value of Bilingualism in the U.S. Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 128-140, October.
  28. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
  29. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
  30. James E. Rauch, 2001. "Business and Social Networks in International Trade," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1177-1203, December.
  31. Gould, David M, 1994. "Immigrant Links to the Home Country: Empirical Implications for U.S. Bilateral Trade Flows," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 302-316, May.
  32. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
  33. Ku, Hyejin & Zussman, Asaf, 2010. "Lingua franca: The role of English in international trade," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 250-260, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. The returns to occupational foreign language use: Evidence from Germany (LE 2015) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:32:y:2015:i:c:p:86-98. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.