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Globalization and the Returns to Speaking English in South Africa

In: Globalization and Poverty

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  • James Levinsohn

Abstract

This paper takes a novel approach to trying to disentangle the impact of globalization on wages by focusing on changes in the return to speaking English, the international language of commerce, in South Africa as that country re-integrated with the global economy after 1993. The paper finds that he return to speaking English increased overall and that within racial groups the return increased primarily for Whites but not for Blacks.
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Suggested Citation

  • James Levinsohn, 2007. "Globalization and the Returns to Speaking English in South Africa," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization and Poverty, pages 629-646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10714
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2002. "The English language fluency and occupational success of ethnic minority immigrant men living in English metropolitan areas," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(1), pages 137-160.
    2. Case, Anne & Deaton, Angus, 1998. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1330-1361, September.
    3. Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid," NBER Working Papers 11384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
    5. Thomas, Duncan, 1996. "Education across Generations in South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 330-334, May.
    6. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2006. "Traditional Institutions Meet the Modern World: Caste, Gender, and Schooling Choice in a Globalizing Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1225-1252, September.
    7. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2008. "What Holds Back the Second Generation?: The Intergenerational Transmission of Language Human Capital Among Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 267-298.
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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. Jacek Liwiński, 2019. "The wage premium from foreign language skills," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 691-711, November.
    3. Osama Alhendi & József Tóth & Péter Lengyel & Péter Balogh, 2021. "Tolerance, Cultural Diversity and Economic Growth: Evidence from Dynamic Panel Data Analysis," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, February.
    4. Augusto Rupérez Micola & Ainhoa Aparicio Fenoll & Albert Banal-Estañol & Arturo Bris, 2016. "TV or not TV? The impact of subtitling on English skills," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 491, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    5. Jain, Tarun & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha, 2019. "Barriers to skill acquisition: Evidence from English training in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 314-325.
    6. Ku, Hyejin & Zussman, Asaf, 2010. "Lingua franca: The role of English in international trade," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 250-260, August.
    7. Rupérez Micola, Augusto & Aparicio Fenoll, Ainoa & Banal-Estañol, Albert & Bris, Arturo, 2019. "TV or not TV? The impact of subtitling on English skills," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 487-499.
    8. Chakraborty, Tanika & Bakshi, Shilpi Kapur, 2016. "English language premium: Evidence from a policy experiment in India," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 1-16.
    9. 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.

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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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