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Ethnic concentration and language fluency of immigrants in Germany

  • Danzer, A. M.
  • Yaman, F.

Studies that investigate the effect of the regional ethnic composition on immigrant outcomes have been complicated by the self-selection of ethnic minorities into specific neighbourhoods. We analyse the impact of own-ethnic concentration on the language proficiency of immigrants by exploiting the fact that the initial placement of guest-workers after WWII was determined by labour demanding firms and the federal labour administration and hence exogenous to immigrant workers. Combining several data sets, we find a small but robust and significant negative effect of ethnic concentration on immigrants’ language ability. Simulation results of a choice model in which location and learning decisions are taken simultaneously confirm the presence of the effect. Immigrants with high learning costs are inclined to move to ethnic enclaves, so that the share of German-speakers would increase only modestly even under the counterfactual scenario of a regionally equal distribution of immigrants across Germany.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, City University London in its series Working Papers with number 11/09.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cty:dpaper:11/09
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Social Sciences Building, City University London, Whiskin Street, London, EC1R 0JD, United Kingdom,
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  1. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human Capital Externalities," NBER Working Papers 4912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 133-56.
  3. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul M, 1996. "Ethnic Networks and Language Proficiency among Immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 19-35, February.
  4. Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2008. "When Are Ghettos Bad? Lessons from Immigrant Segregation In the United States," Scholarly Articles 2666726, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Dustmann, Christian & van Soest, Arthur, 1998. "Language and the Earnings of Immigrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 2012, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Bauer, Thomas & Epstein, Gil S & Gang, Ira, 2002. "Enclaves, Language and the Location Choice of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 3527, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cutler, David M & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-72, August.
  9. Per-Anders Edin & Peter Fredriksson & Olof �slund, 2003. "Ethnic Enclaves And The Economic Success Of Immigrants - Evidence From A Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 329-357, February.
  10. Anna Piil Damm, 2006. "Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Labour Market Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0607, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  11. George J. Borjas, 1997. "To Ghetto or Not to Ghetto: Ethnicity and Residential Segregation," NBER Working Papers 6176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Do Enclaves Matter in Immigrant Adjustment?," IZA Discussion Papers 449, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2003. "Language proficiency and labour market performance of immigrants in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 695-717, 07.
  15. Casey Warman, 2007. "Ethnic enclaves and immigrant earnings growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(2), pages 401-422, May.
  16. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2, March.
  17. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 1999. "Immigrant Earnings: Language Skills, Linguistic Concentrations and the Business Cycle," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 152, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  18. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-88, April.
  19. 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.
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