IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:83:y:2001:i:4:p:663-674

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L., 1990. "English language proficiency and the economic progress of immigrants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 295-300, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Douglas, Stratford M & Conway, Karen Smith & Ferrier, Gary D, 1995. "A Switching Frontier Model for Imperfect Sample Separation Information: With an Application to Constrained Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 503-529, May.
    5. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 133-156.
    6. 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 761-764, May.
    7. 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 205-228, April.
    8. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:83:y:2001:i:4:p:663-674. 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: (Kristin Waites). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.