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A spatial economic perspective on language acquisition: segregation, networking, and assimilation of immigrants

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  • Raymond J G M Florax
  • Thomas de Graaff
  • Brigitte S Waldorf

Abstract

Immigration and multiculturalism are at the heart of modern Western societies. The issue of language acquisition of immigrants is intrinsically linked to immigration. We formally link language acquisition of immigrants to the relative size of the immigrant stock, employing a microeconomic trading framework. Our model allows for spatial interaction going beyond the immigrant’s area of residence, and explicitly incorporates spatial segregation. In addition, behavioral differences of immigrants with respect to their level of assimilation into the host country, as well as differences in networking within their own ethnic community, are accounted for. We test our model for four non-Western immigrant groups in the Netherlands at two different spatial scale levels. The empirical results reveal that there is only ambiguous support for the inverse relationship between size of the immigrant community and language acquisition or language proficiency in The Netherlands. We find instead that there is strong support for language acquisition and understanding being positively influenced by assimilation to the host country’s culture.

Suggested Citation

  • Raymond J G M Florax & Thomas de Graaff & Brigitte S Waldorf, 2005. "A spatial economic perspective on language acquisition: segregation, networking, and assimilation of immigrants," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(10), pages 1877-1897, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:37:y:2005:i:10:p:1877-1897
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Per-Anders Edin & Peter Fredriksson & Olof Åslund, 2003. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Economic Success of Immigrants—Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 329-357.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Rob Euwals & Hans Roodenburg & J. Dagevos & M. Gijsberts, 2007. "The labour market position of Turkish immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands; reason for migration, naturalisation and language proficiency," CPB Discussion Paper 79, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    3. Euwals, Rob & Dagevos, Jaco & Gijsberts, Mérove & Roodenburg, Hans, 2007. "The Labour Market Position of Turkish Immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands: Reason for Migration, Naturalisation and Language Proficiency," IZA Discussion Papers 2683, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2015. "Cultural Diversity - A Matter of Measurement," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1502, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Beckhusen, Julia & Florax, Raymond J.G.M. & de Graaff, Thomas & Poot, Jacques & Waldorf, Brigitte, 2012. "Living and Working in Ethnic Enclaves: Language Proficiency of Immigrants in U.S. Metropolitan Areas," IZA Discussion Papers 6363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Ceren Ozgen & Thomas de Graff, 2013. "Sorting out the impact of cultural diversity on innovative firms. An empirical analysis of Dutch micro-data," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2013012, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    7. Kate Mane & Brigitte Waldorf, 2013. "Human capital and wages: a comparison of Albanian and Italian immigrants," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 51(1), pages 53-72, August.
    8. de Graaff, Thomas & Nijkamp, Peter, 2010. "Socio-economic impacts of migrant clustering on Dutch neighbourhoods: In search of optimal migrant diversity," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 231-239, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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