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Listening to What the World Says: Bilingualism and Earnings in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Albert Saiz

    (University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School)

  • Elena Zoido

    (LECG Europe)

Abstract

Is there a shortage of critical foreign language skills in the United States? Recent concerns about national security and economic globalization suggest increased demand and wage premia for foreign language speakers. The use of English as the international language, however, suggests a decrease in demand for foreign language skills in the United States. To address this question, we study a representative sample of U.S. college graduates. Ordinary least squares regressions with controls for cognitive ability, nonparametric methods based on the propensity score, and panel data methods suggest a 2%-3% wage premium for college graduates who can speak a second language. 2005 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert Saiz & Elena Zoido, 2005. "Listening to What the World Says: Bilingualism and Earnings in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 523-538, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:87:y:2005:i:3:p:523-538
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2015. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(4), pages 407-421, April.
    2. 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).
    3. Mehtabul Azam & Aimee Chin & Nishith Prakash, 2013. "The Returns to English-Language Skills in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 335-367.
    4. Brindusa Anghel & Antonio Cabrales & Jesus M. Carro, 2016. "Evaluating A Bilingual Education Program In Spain: The Impact Beyond Foreign Language Learning," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 1202-1223, April.
    5. Das, Tirthatanmoy & Polachek, Solomon, 2017. "Micro Foundations of Earnings Differences," IZA Discussion Papers 10922, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Stöhr, Tobias, 2015. "The returns to occupational foreign language use: Evidence from Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 86-98.
    7. Haining Wang & Zhiming Cheng & Russell Smyth, 2016. "Language, Health Outcomes and Health Inequality," Monash Economics Working Papers 43-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    8. Giorgio Di Pietro, 2014. "University study abroad and graduates' employability," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 109-109, December.
    9. Lang Kevin & Siniver Erez, 2009. "The Return to English in a Non-English Speaking Country: Russian Immigrants and Native Israelis in Israel," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-30, November.
    10. Wang, Haining & Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2016. "Language and consumption," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 135-151.
    11. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:142-158 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:bla:labour:v:31:y:2017:i:3:p:265-287 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Wang, Haining & Smyth, Russell & Cheng, Zhiming, 2017. "The economic returns to proficiency in English in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 91-104.
    14. José Manuel Cordero Ferrera & Rosa Simancas Rodríguez (ed.), 2016. "Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación," E-books Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación, Asociación de Economía de la Educación, edition 1, volume 11, number 11, Winter.
    15. Giuseppe Sorrenti, 2017. "The Spanish or the German Apartment? Study Abroad and the Acquisition of Permanent Skills," CHILD Working Papers Series 46 JEL Classification: I2, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
    16. Tubadji, Annie & Gheasi, Masood & Nijkamp, Peter, 2014. "Immigrants' 'Ability' and Welfare as a Function of Cultural Diversity: Effect of Cultural Capital at Individual and Local Level," IZA Discussion Papers 8460, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Pope, Devin G., 2008. "Benefits of bilingualism: Evidence from Mormon missionaries," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 234-242, April.
    18. Kugler, Adriana & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2008. "Do Recent Latino Immigrants Compete for Jobs with Native Hispanics and Earlier Latino Immigrants?," MPRA Paper 69703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Donado, Alejandro, 2014. "Foreign Languages and their Impact on Income and Unemployment," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100288, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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