The catalan premium: language and employment in Catalonia
This paper measures the contribution of knowing Catalan to finding a job in Catalonia. In the early eighties a drastic language policy change (normalització) promoted the learning and use of Catalan and managed to reverse the falling trend of its relative use versus Castilian (Spanish), thereby recovering its economic value. Using census data for 1991 and 1996, I estimate a significant positive Catalan premium: the probability of being employed increases between 3 and 5 percentage points if individuals know how to read and speak Catalan; it increases between 1 and 4 percentage points for writing Catalan. This premium is substantially higher for women than for men, and decreasing in schooling and in age.
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