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

  • Chiswick, Barry R.


    (George Washington University)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 451.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economics of Education Review, 2003, 22 (5), 469-480
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp451
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. 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.
  2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  3. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2002. "Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 31-57.
  4. 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 246-88, April.
  5. Abbott, M.G. & Beach, C.M., 1988. "Immigrant Earnings Differentials and Cohort Effects in Canada," Papers 1988-1, Queen's at Kingston - Sch. of Indus. Relat. Papers in Industrial Relations.
  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. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1983. "Generalized Econometric Models with Selectivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 507-12, March.
  8. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2001. "A model of destination-language acquisition: Application to male immigrants in Canada," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 391-409, August.
  9. 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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