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The Complementarity of Language and Other Human Capital: Immigrant Earnings in Canada

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  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    (George Washington University)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effects of language practice on earnings among adult male immigrants in Canada using the 1991 Census. Earnings are shown to increase with schooling, pre-immigration experience and duration in Canada, as well as with proficiency in the official languages (English and French). Using selectivity correction techniques, it is shown that there is complementarity between language skills and both schooling and pre-immigration experience. That is, greater proficiency in the official languages enhances the effects on earnings of schooling and pre-immigration labor market experience. Language proficiency and post-migration experience appear to be substitutes, that is, those with greater proficiency have a smaller effect of time in Canada on earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "The Complementarity of Language and Other Human Capital: Immigrant Earnings in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 451, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp451
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. 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.
    3. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1983. "Generalized Econometric Models with Selectivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 507-512, March.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    5. Pendakur, K. & Pendakur, R., 1999. "Speaking in Tongues: Language as both Human Capital and Ethnicity," Discussion Papers dp99-10, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    6. Joseph Schaafsma & Arthur Sweetman, 2001. "Immigrant earnings: age at immigration matters," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1066-1099, November.
    7. 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.
    8. Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "A Model of Destination Language Acquistion: Application to Male Immigrants in Canada," Working Papers 149, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State.
    9. Michael G. Abbott & Charles M. Beach, 1987. "Immigrant Earnings Differentials and Cohort Effects in Canada," Working Paper 705, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    language skills; human capital; schooling; immigrants; earnings; Canada;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • 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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