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The Economic Returns to Multiple Language Usage in Western Europe

Author

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  • Williams, Donald R.

    (Kent State University (USA) and CEPS/INSTEAD (Luxembourg))

Abstract

To what extent are there economic returns to learning a second or third language? Do the benefits differ according to country? This paper examines the return to multi-lingualism in the workplace. In particular, we estimate the effect that using an additional language in one’s job has on earnings for a sample of workers in the European Community Household Panel survey. Log-earnings regressions are estimated by country with controls for standard human capital, job, and personal characteristics. Preliminary results indicate that the use of a second language in the workplace raises earnings by about 5 to 10 percent, but the results are sensitive to the specification used and vary across countries, occupations, and gender.

Suggested Citation

  • Williams, Donald R., 2006. "The Economic Returns to Multiple Language Usage in Western Europe," IRISS Working Paper Series 2006-07, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:2006-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Isphording, Ingo, 2013. "Returns to Local and Foreign Language Skills – Causal Evidence from Spain," Ruhr Economic Papers 398, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Aurélien Portuese, 2012. "Law and economics of the European multilingualism," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 279-325, October.
    4. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2020. "The Economics of Language," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(2), pages 348-404, June.
    5. Ingo Isphording, 2013. "Returns to Local and Foreign Language Skills – Causal Evidence from Spain," Ruhr Economic Papers 0398, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Tanova, Cem, 2006. "Using Job Embeddedness Factors to Explain Voluntary Turnover in Five European Countries," IRISS Working Paper Series 2006-04, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    7. Voicu, Malina & Voicu, Bogdan & Strapcova, Katarina, 2006. "Housework and gender inequality across Europe," IRISS Working Paper Series 2006-11, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    8. Valentova, Marie, 2007. "Attitudes to Family Policy Arrangements in Relation to Attitudes to Family and division of Labour between Genders," IRISS Working Paper Series 2007-05, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    9. Stéphane Mussard & Michel Terraza, 2009. "Décompositions des mesures d'inégalité : le cas des coefficients de Gini et d'entropie," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 75(2), pages 151-181.
    10. Victor Ginsburgh & Juan Prieto-Rodriguez, 2013. "Is there a Gender Bias in the Use of Foreign Languages in Europe?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 552-566, November.
    11. Ingo E. Isphording, 2013. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills of Immigrants in Spain," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(4), pages 443-461, December.
    12. GINSBURGH, Victor & PRIETO-RODRIGUEZ, Juan, 2007. "Returns to foreign languages of native workers in the EU," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 2007021, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    13. repec:zbw:rwirep:0398 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Blázquez, Maite & Herrarte, Ainhoa & Llorente-Heras, Raquel, 2018. "Competencies, occupational status, and earnings among European university graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 16-34.
    15. Voicu, Bogdan & Voicu, Malina & Strapcova, Katarina, 2007. "Engendered housework. A cross-european analysis," IRISS Working Paper Series 2007-07, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    16. Sirovatka, Tomas & Valentova, Marie, 2006. "The Legitimacy of Redistribution: the Czech Republic in International Comparison," IRISS Working Paper Series 2006-12, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    17. 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.
    18. Kankarash, Milosh & Moors, Guy, 2007. "Heterogeneity in solidarity attitudes in Europe. Insights from a multiple-group latent-class factor approach," IRISS Working Paper Series 2007-06, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD, revised Jun 2007.

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