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Immigrant Adjustment in Israel: Literacy and Fluency in Hebrew and Earnings

Author

Listed:
  • Repetto, Gaston

    (University of Illinois at Chicago)

  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    () (George Washington University)

Abstract

This paper is an analysis of the determinates of Hebrew language speaking and writing skills and the determinates of earnings among adult male Jewish immigrants in Israel, using the 1972 Census of Israel. Among other findings, Hebrew speaking skills and Hebrew literacy are shown to increase with level of schooling and duration in Israel, but to decrease with age at migration and if many others in the area in which the respondent lives speak the same origin language. Country of origin and family structure also matter. Earnings are found to increase with level of schooling, duration in Israel, pre-immigration labor market experience and proficiency in both speaking and writing Hebrew. Those who speak Hebrew on a daily basis as a primary or only language and who can write a letter in Hebrew earn about 20 percent more than those who do neither. Controlling for these variables, as well as country of origin, English speakers earn about 15 percent more and Arabic speakers earn 2 percent less than Hebrew speaking immigrants who speak neither of these languages. Comparisons are made to a study of immigrants in the 1983 Census of Israel, and immigrants in other countries. Estimates of the rate of return to the investment in language training are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Repetto, Gaston & Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "Immigrant Adjustment in Israel: Literacy and Fluency in Hebrew and Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 177, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp177
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eckstein, Z. & Weiss, Y., 1998. "The Absorption of Highly Skilled Immigrants: Israel, 1990-1995," Papers 03-98, Tel Aviv.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    3. 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 246-288, April.
    4. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-251, April.
    5. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Language skills and earnings among legalized aliens," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(1), pages 63-89.
    6. Barry R. Chiswick, 1998. "Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(2), pages 253-271.
    7. Chiswick, Barry R, 1991. "Speaking, Reading, and Earnings among Low-Skilled Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 149-170, April.
    8. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 133-156.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2002. "Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(1), pages 31-57.
    2. Chen, Zhao & Lu, Ming & Xu, Le, 2014. "Returns to dialect," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 27-43.
    3. Seid, Yared, 2016. "Does learning in mother tongue matter? Evidence from a natural experiment in Ethiopia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 21-38.
    4. Andersson, Fredrik & Konrad, Kai A., 2001. "Globalization and Human Capital Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 245, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. de Baldini Rocha, Maúna Soares & Ponczek, Vladimir, 2011. "The effects of adult literacy on earnings and employment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 755-764, August.
    6. Godoy, Ricardo & Karlan, Dean S. & Rabindran, Shanti & Huanca, Tomas, 2005. "Do modern forms of human capital matter in primitive economies? Comparative evidence from Bolivia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-53, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings; Hebrew; Israel; Immigrants; language;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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