The Economic Returns to Multiple Language Usage in Western Europe
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.
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