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The Economics of Language: An Introduction and Overview

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  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    () (George Washington University)

Abstract

This paper provides an introduction and overview of my research on the Economics of Language. The approach is that language skills among immigrants and native-born linguistic minorities are a form of human capital. There are costs and benefits associated with this characteristic embodied in the person. The analysis focuses on the economic and demographic determinants of destination language proficiency among immigrants. This is based on Exposure, Efficiency and Economic Incentives (the three E’s) for proficiency. It also focuses on the labor market consequences (earnings) of proficiency for immigrants and native-born bilinguals. The empirical testing for the US, Canada, Australia, Israel and Bolivia is supportive of the theoretical models.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiswick, Barry R., 2008. "The Economics of Language: An Introduction and Overview," IZA Discussion Papers 3568, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3568
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    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3568.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christian Dustmann & Arthur van Soest, 2001. "Language Fluency And Earnings: Estimation With Misclassified Language Indicators," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 663-674, November.
    2. B.R. Chiswick & P.W. Miller, 2000. "Do Enclaves Matter in Immigrant Adjustment?," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 00-19, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    3. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2005. "Computer Skills, Destination Language Proficiency and the Earnings of Natives and Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1755, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Chiswick, Barry R & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Hurst, Michael E, 2000. "Indigenous Language Skills and the Labor Market in a Developing Economy: Bolivia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 349-367, January.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:eme:rleczz:s0147-9121(07)00003-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Gilles Grenier, 1987. "Earnings by Language Group in Quebec in 1980 and Emigration from Quebec between 1976 and 1981," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(4), pages 774-791, November.
    9. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2003. "The complementarity of language and other human capital: immigrant earnings in Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 469-480, October.
    10. 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.
    11. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2001. "A model of destination-language acquisition: Application to male immigrants in Canada," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(3), pages 391-409, August.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2004. "Language Skills and Immigrant Adjustment: What Immigration Policy Can Do!," IZA Discussion Papers 1419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Barry Chiswick & Yew Lee & Paul Miller, 2005. "Family matters: the role of the family in immigrants' destination language acquisition," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(4), pages 631-647, November.
    16. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 2007. "Modeling Immigrants’ Language Skills," Research in Labor Economics,in: Immigration, volume 27, pages 75-128 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    17. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-130, April.
    18. Kossoudji, Sherrie A, 1988. "English Language Ability and the Labor Market Opportunities of Hispanic and East Asian Immigrant Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 205-228, April.
    19. Barry Chiswick & Yew Lee & Paul Miller, 2005. "“Parents and Children Talk: English Language Proficiency within Immigrant Families”," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 243-268, September.
    20. Chiswick, Barry R, 1977. "Sons of Immigrants: Are They at an Earnings Disadvantage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 376-380, February.
    21. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2007. "Computer usage, destination language proficiency and the earnings of natives and immigrants," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 129-157, June.
    22. Geoffrey Carliner, 1981. "Wage Differences by Language Group and the Market for Language Skills in Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(3), pages 384-399.
    23. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2004. "Linguistic Distance: A Quantitative Measure of the Distance Between English and Other Languages," IZA Discussion Papers 1246, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    24. Barry R. Chiswick, 2000. "A Model of Immigrant Language Acquisition: Application to Male Immigrants in Canada," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 149, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. ¿En qué idioma deberían los inmigrantes hablar a sus hijos?
      by Ainhoa Aparicio in Nada Es Gratis on 2016-05-04 10:33:21

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    Cited by:

    1. Baert, Stijn & Cockx, Bart, 2013. "Pure ethnic gaps in educational attainment and school to work transitions: When do they arise?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 276-294.
    2. Ken Clark & Stephen Drinkwater & Catherine Robinson, 2017. "Self-employment amongst migrant groups: new evidence from England and Wales," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1047-1069, April.
    3. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0615-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Burton, Jonathan & Nandi, Alita & Platt, Lucinda, 2008. "Who are the UK's minority ethnic groups? Issues of identification and measurement in a longitudinal study," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-26, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Andres Sanchez Jabba, 2013. "Bilinguismo en Colombia," REVISTA ECONOMÍA & REGIÓN, UNIVERSIDAD TECNOLÓGICA DE BOLÍVAR, vol. 7(2), pages 65-89, December.
    6. Kox, Henk L.M., 2011. "The future of the fence around the European labour market," MPRA Paper 31722, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Aurélien Portuese, 2012. "Law and economics of the European multilingualism," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 279-325, October.
    8. Javier Cano-Urbina & Patrick L. Mason, 2016. "Acculturation and the labor market in Mexico," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-29, December.
    9. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:142-158 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lien, Donald & Oh, Chang Hoon & Selmier, W. Travis, 2012. "Confucius institute effects on China's trade and FDI: Isn't it delightful when folks afar study Hanyu?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 147-155.
    11. Lien, Donald & Oh, Chang Hoon, 2014. "Determinants of the Confucius Institute establishment," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 437-441.
    12. Sorrenti, Giuseppe, 2017. "The Spanish or the German apartment? Study abroad and the acquisition of permanent skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 142-158.
    13. Jonas Helgertz, 2013. "Pre- to Post-Migration Occupational Mobility of First Generation Immigrants to Sweden from 1970–1990: Examining the Influence of Linguistic Distance," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(3), pages 437-467, June.
    14. repec:bdr:bdrcap:2014a-07-103-128 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigrants; bilingualism; human capital; language; earnings;

    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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