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The English language fluency and occupational success of ethnic minority immigrant men living in English metropolitan areas

  • Michael A. Shields


    (Public Sector Economics Research Centre, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK)

  • Stephen Wheatley Price


    (Public Sector Economics Research Centre, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK)

This paper examines two crucial aspects of the assimilation experience of ethnic minority immigrants in the United Kingdom. It explores the determinants of their English language (speaking) fluency and the key role such skills play in their occupational success. Our sample is derived from the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities undertaken in 1994. Uniquely this data contains an interviewer-assessed measure of English language fluency. Importantly, we also attempt to control for possible endogeneity bias in the estimates of the effect of language fluency on occupational success. We find that fluency is associated with significantly higher mean hourly occupational wages.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 137-160

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:15:y:2002:i:1:p:137-160
Note: Received: 26 November 1999/Accepted: 03 August 2000 received from participants at the Centre for Economic Policy Research conference "Marginal Labour Markets in Metropolitan Areas" held in Dublin between 10-12 October 1999 where an earlier version of this paper was presented. In addition Barry R. Chiswick and three anonymous referees have made valuable suggestions which have greatly improved the final version of this paper. The Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities (deposited by the Policy Studies Institute) and the Quarterly Labour Force Survey of the United Kingdom (Crown Copyright; deposited by the Office for National Statistics) were used with permission. The authors are grateful to the Data Archive at the University of Essex for supplying the data and documentation. Responsible editor: Alan Barrett.-->
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  1. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1999. "The marginal and average returns to schooling in the UK," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 879-887, April.
  2. Stewart, Mark B, 1983. "Racial Discrimination and Occupational Attainment in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(371), pages 521-41, September.
  3. Colm Harmon & Ian Walker, 1997. "The Marginal and Average Returns to Schooling," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 97/07, Department of Economics, Keele University.
  4. Michael Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 1999. "Ethnic differences in British employer-funded on and off-the-job training," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(7), pages 421-429.
  5. Christian Dustmann & Arthur van Soest, 2001. "Language Fluency And Earnings: Estimation With Misclassified Language Indicators," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 663-674, November.
  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. Dustmann, Christian, 1999. " Temporary Migration, Human Capital, and Language Fluency of Migrants," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(2), pages 297-314, June.
  8. Stephen Pudney & Michael Shields, . "Gender, Race, Pay and Promotion in the British Nursing Profession Estimation of a Generalised Ordered ProbitModel," Discussion Papers in Economics 97/4, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  9. Dustmann, Christian & van Soest, Arthur, 1998. "Language and the Earnings of Immigrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 2012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  11. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 133-56.
  12. 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.
  13. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  14. Galor, Oded & Stark, Oded, 1990. "Migrants' Savings, the Probability of Return Migration and Migrants' Performance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 463-67, May.
  15. Michael Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 1998. "The earnings of male immigrants in England: evidence from the quarterly LFS," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(9), pages 1157-1168.
  16. Harper, Barry & Haq, Mohammad, 1997. "Occupational Attainment of Men in Britain," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 638-50, October.
  17. Nickell, Stephen, 1982. "The Determinants of Occupational Success in Britain," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 43-53, January.
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