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Matching Language Proficiency to Occupation: The Effect on Immigrants’ Earnings

Author

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  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    () (George Washington University)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect on earnings of the matching of English language skills to occupational requirements. It uses data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database and a “Realized Matches” procedure to quantify expected levels of English skills in each of over 500 occupations in the US Census. Earnings data from the 2000 US Census for foreign-born adult male workers are then examined in relation to these occupational English requirements. The analyses show that earnings are related to correct matching of an individual’s language skills and that of his occupation. Moreover, the findings are robust with respect to a range of measurement and specification issues. Immigrant settlement policy may have a role to play in matching immigrants to jobs that use their language skills most effectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "Matching Language Proficiency to Occupation: The Effect on Immigrants’ Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 2587, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2587
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wolfe, Barbara L & Behrman, Jere R, 1984. "Determinants of Women's Health Status and Health-Care Utilization in a Developing Country: A Latent Variable Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(4), pages 696-703, November.
    2. Arjan Gjonca & Cecilia Tomassini & James W. Vaupel, 1999. "Male-female differences in mortality in the developed world," MPIDR Working Papers WP-1999-009, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    3. Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2000. "Does Child Mortality Reflect Gender Bias? Evidence from Pakistan," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 35(2), pages 113-131, July.
    4. Klasen, Stephan, 1994. ""Missing women" reconsidered," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 1061-1071, July.
    5. G. Hazarika, 2000. "Gender Differences in Children's Nutrition and Access to Health Care in Pakistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 73-92, October.
    6. Wadley, Susan S., 1993. "Family composition strategies in rural north India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 1367-1376, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Núria Quella, 2012. "Occupational selection in multilingual labor markets: the case of Catalonia," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(8), pages 918-937, November.
    2. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Torres, Javier, 2016. "Foreign human capital and the earnings gap between immigrants and Canadian-born workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 104-119.
    3. Chiswick, Barry R. & Taengnoi, Sarinda, 2007. "Occupational Choice of High Skilled Immigrants in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 2969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigrants; earnings; English language; schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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