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Language Fluency And Earnings: Estimation With Misclassified Language Indicators

  • Christian Dustmann
  • Arthur van Soest

We use panel data to analyze the determinants of speaking fluency and wages of immigrants. Our model takes account of two problems that may bias OLS estimates of the impact of speaking fluency on earnings. First, subjective variables on an ordinal discrete scale, such as self-reported language ability, can suffer from misclassification errors. The model decomposes misclassification errors into a time-persistent and a time-varying component. Second, the model accounts for correlated unobserved heterogeneity in language and earnings equation. The main finding is that these two generalizations of the standard model both lead to substantial changes in the estimated effect of speaking fluency on earnings. © 2001 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/003465301753237740
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 83 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 663-674

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:83:y:2001:i:4:p:663-674
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  1. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 905, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Butler, J S & Moffitt, Robert, 1982. "A Computationally Efficient Quadrature Procedure for the One-Factor Multinomial Probit Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 761-64, May.
  3. Kossoudji, Sherrie A, 1988. "English Language Ability and the Labor Market Opportunities of Hispanic and East Asian Immigrant Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 205-28, April.
  4. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  5. Gilles Grenier, 1984. "The Effects of Language Characteristics on the Wages of Hispanic-American Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(1), pages 35-52.
  6. Geoffrey Carliner, 1981. "Wage Differences by Language Group and the Market for Language Skills in Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(3), pages 384-399.
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