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Family Matters: The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Destination Language Acquisition

Author

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  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    (George Washington University)

  • Lee, Yew Liang

    (University of Western Australia)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the relationship among family members in the determinants of destination language proficiency among immigrants. A model of immigrant language proficiency is augmented to include dynamics among family members. It is tested using data on a sample of recent immigrants. Children are shown to have a negative effect on their mother’s language proficiency, but no effect on their father’s. There is a substantial positive correlation between the language skills of spouses. This is due to the correlation between spouses in both the measured determinants and the unmeasured determinants of destination language skills among spouses.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Family Matters: The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Destination Language Acquisition," IZA Discussion Papers 460, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp460
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Immigrants' Language Skills and Visa Category," IZA Discussion Papers 471, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Deborah Cobb‐Clark, 2001. "The Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 34(4), pages 467-477, December.
    3. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    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 246-288, April.
    5. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    6. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 1999. "Immigration, Language and Multiculturalism in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 32(4), pages 369-385, December.
    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. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Occupational Mobility: A Test of the Immigrant Assimilation Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 452, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul M, 1996. "Ethnic Networks and Language Proficiency among Immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(1), pages 19-35, February.
    12. 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.
    13. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-727, September.
    14. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1994. "Language Choice among Immigrants in a Multi-lingual Destination," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 119-131.
    15. 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.
    16. Albert Breton, 1978. "Nationalism and Language Policies," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 11(4), pages 656-668, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 2007. "Modeling Immigrants’ Language Skills," Research in Labor Economics, in: Barry R. Chiswick (ed.), Immigration, volume 27, pages 75-128, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    2. Feng, Li & Gai, Yunwei & Chen, Xiaoning, 2014. "Family learning environment and early literacy: A comparison of bilingual and monolingual children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 110-130.
    3. 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.
    4. Abdulla, Kanat, 2020. "Human capital accumulation: Evidence from immigrants in low-income countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 951-973.
    5. Santiago Budría & Pablo Swedberg, 2019. "The impact of multilingualism on host language acquisition," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 741-766, November.
    6. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "The Critical Period Hypothesis for Language Learning: What the 2000 US Census Says," IZA Discussion Papers 2575, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Ingo E. Isphording, 2015. "What drives the language proficiency of immigrants?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 177-177, August.
    8. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Immigrants' Language Skills and Visa Category," IZA Discussion Papers 471, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Ortega, Francesc & Hsin, Amy, 2018. "Occupational Barriers and the Labor Market Penalty from Lack of Legal Status," IZA Discussion Papers 11680, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Zsóka Kóczán, 2016. "(Why) are immigrants unhappy?," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-25, December.
    11. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Immigrants' Language Skills: The Australian Experience in a Longitudinal Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 502, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. 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.
    13. Julia Beckhusen & Raymond J.G.M. Florax & Thomas Graaff & Jacques Poot & Brigitte Waldorf, 2013. "Living and working in ethnic enclaves: English Language proficiency of immigrants in US metropolitan areas," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(2), pages 305-328, June.
    14. Beckhusen, Julia & Florax, Raymond J.G.M. & de Graaff, Thomas & Poot, Jacques & Waldorf, Brigitte, 2012. "Living and Working in Ethnic Enclaves: Language Proficiency of Immigrants in U.S. Metropolitan Areas," IZA Discussion Papers 6363, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2002. "Immigrants' Language Skills: The Australian Experience," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 02-07, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    16. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2004. "Language Skills and Immigrant Adjustment: What Immigration Policy Can Do!," IZA Discussion Papers 1419, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Casale, Daniela & Posel, Dorrit, 2011. "English language proficiency and earnings in a developing country: The case of South Africa," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 385-393, August.
    18. Kristina A. Schapiro, 2009. "Migration and Educational Outcomes of Children," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-57, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Oct 2009.
    19. Chiswick, Barry R., 2008. "The Economics of Language: An Introduction and Overview," IZA Discussion Papers 3568, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Koczan, Zs, 2013. "Does integration increase life satisfaction," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1314, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    21. Danzer, Alexander M. & Yaman, Firat, 2016. "Ethnic concentration and language fluency of immigrants: Evidence from the guest-worker placement in Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 151-165.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    family; language skills; Immigrants; longitudinal data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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