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Language and Labour in South Africa. A New Approach for a New South Africa

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  • Katy Cornwell

Abstract

This paper considers the role of language in labour earnings in South Africa over the period 1996 to 1998. Our pooled cross-section comprises of over 180,000 working age adults, and the analysis considers the decision to participate in the labour force, employment prospects and labour earnings. Models include variables for individual mother tongue in addition to race. After conditioning on a number of socio-economic and demographic factors, we find the English language to be one of the pivotal determinants of labour earnings. These results are robust across two models of sample selection. Such findings shed light on the economic consequences of South Africa’s national policy of linguistic heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Katy Cornwell, 2004. "Language and Labour in South Africa. A New Approach for a New South Africa," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 254, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:254
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    File URL: http://repec.org/esAUSM04/up.17432.1077862724.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-130, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Knight, John, 2004. "Unemployment in South Africa: The Nature of the Beast," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 391-408, March.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    5. Cragg, John G, 1971. "Some Statistical Models for Limited Dependent Variables with Application to the Demand for Durable Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(5), pages 829-844, September.
    6. Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L., 1990. "English language proficiency and the economic progress of immigrants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 295-300, November.
    7. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; South Africa; Language; Double Hurdle;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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