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The returns to speaking a second language

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  • Albert Saiz
  • Elena Zoido

Abstract

Does speaking a foreign language have an impact on earnings? The authors use a variety of empirical strategies to address this issue for a representative sample of U.S. college graduates. OLS regressions with a complete set of controls to minimize concerns about omitted variable biases, propensity score methods, and panel data techniques all lead to similar conclusions. The hourly earnings of those who speak a foreign language are more than 2 percent higher than the earnings of those who do not. The authors obtain higher and more imprecise point estimates using state high school graduation and college entry and graduation requirements as instrumental variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert Saiz & Elena Zoido, 2002. "The returns to speaking a second language," Working Papers 02-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:02-16
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chiswick, Barry R. & Gindelsky, Marina, 2014. "Determinants of Bilingualism among Children," IZA Discussion Papers 8488, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Chr. Hjorth-Andersen, 2006. "The Relative Importance of the European Languages," Discussion Papers 06-23, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. Saiz, Albert & Zoido, Elena, 2004. "Curriculum mandates and skills in adulthood: the case of foreign languages," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-8, July.
    4. Barry R. Chiswick & Marina Gindelsky, 2016. "Determinants of bilingualism among children: an econometric analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 489-506, September.

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