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Unemployment in Wales: Does Language Matter?


  • S. J. Drinkwater
  • N. C. O'Leary


DRINKWATER S. J. and O'LEARY N. C. (1997) Unemployment in Wales: does language matter?, Reg. Studies 31, 583-591. This paper examines the relationship between the ability to speak the Welsh language and unemployment in Wales. Using the Sample of Anonymised Records from the 1991 Census of the Population , it is found that Welsh speakers experience lower unemployment rates than those only able to speak English. The paper then suggests possible reasons for this observation. These include assimilation, positive discrimination and differences in characteristics between Welsh and non-Welsh speakers. It is found that characteristic differences alone are not responsible for the entire unemployment differential. This is particularly the case for West Wales. DRINKWATER S. J. et O'LEARY N. C. (1997) Le chomage aux Pays de Galles: la langue a-t-elle un role a jouer?, Reg. Studies 31, 583-591. Cet article cherche a examiner le rapport entre la capacite de parler la langue galloise et le chomage aux Pays de Galles. A partir d'un echantillon des registres qui gardent l'anonymat et qui proviennent du recensement de la population de 1991, il s'avere que les taux de chomage de ceux qui parlent la langue galloise sont inferieurs aux taux relatifs a ceux qui ne parlent que la langue anglaise. Il s'ensuit des explications eventuelles de ce constat, dont l'assimilation, la discrimination positive et les differentes caracteristiques de ceux qui parlent la langue galloise par rapport a ceux qui ne la parlent pas. Il en resulte que les differentes caracteristiques seules n'expliquent pas totalement l'ecart du chomage. C'est notamment le cas pour ce qui est des Pays de Galles de l'Ouest. DRINKWATER S. J. und O'LEARY N. C.(1997)Erwerbslosigkeit in Wales: Macht Sprachkenntnis etwas aus?, Reg. Studies 31, 583-591. Der vorliegnde Aufsatz untersucht die Beziehung zwischen der Erwerbslosigkeit in Wales und der Fa¨higkeit, walisisch zu sprechen. Es wird mit Hilfe eines Querschnitts anonymisierter Daten der Volksza¨hlung des Jahres 1991(Sample of Anonymised Records of 1991 Census of the Population) festgestellt, dass Erwerbslosigkeitsraten walisisch sprechender Personen niedriger sind als die derer, die nur Englisch sprechen. Der Aufsatz weist auf mo¨gliche Gru¨nde dafu¨r hin. Dazu geho¨ren Assimilation, Diskriminierung und Unterschiede in den charakteristischen Merkmalen zwischen denen, die walisisch sprechen und solchen, die der Sprache nicht ma¨chtig sind. Es wurde festgestellt, dass charakteristische Unterschiede nicht allein fu¨r den Gesamtunterschied der Erwerbslosigkeit verantwortlich sind. Das trifft besonders in Westwales zu.

Suggested Citation

  • S. J. Drinkwater & N. C. O'Leary, 1997. "Unemployment in Wales: Does Language Matter?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 583-591.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:31:y:1997:i:6:p:583-591
    DOI: 10.1080/00343409750131712

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    Cited by:

    1. Sílvio Rendon, 2007. "The Catalan premium: language and employment in Catalonia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(3), pages 669-686, July.
    2. Saarela, Jan & Finnäs, Fjalar, 2002. "Language-Group Differences in Very Early Retirement in Finland," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 A2-3, International Conferences on Panel Data.
    3. Jan Saarela & Fjalar Finnäs, 2004. "Interethnic Wage Variation in the Helsinki Area," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 35-48, Spring.
    4. Ramon Caminal, 2013. "The economic value of reciprocal bilingualism," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 933.13, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    5. Saarela, Jan & Finnas, Fjalar, 2006. "Can the low unemployment rate of Swedish speakers in Finland be attributed to structural factors?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 498-513, June.
    6. Jan Saarela & Fjalar Finnäs, 2002. "Language-group Differences in Very Early Retirement in Finland," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 7(3), pages 49-66, July.
    7. Saarela, Jan & Finnas, Fjalar, 2003. "Unemployment and native language: the Finnish case," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 59-80, March.
    8. Bengt-Arne Wickström, 2014. "Indigenes, immigration, and integration: a welfare-economics approach to minority rights," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics, chapter 10, pages 227-242 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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    Welsh Language; Unemployment; Discrimination;


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