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Immigrants' Language Skills: The Australian Experience in a Longitudinal Survey

  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    ()

    (George Washington University)

  • Lee, Yew Liang

    ()

    (University of Western Australia)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

This paper is concerned with the determinants of English language proficiency (speaking, reading and writing) among immigrants. It presents a model of immigrant destination language acquisition based on economic incentives, exposure to the destination language, and efficiency in second language acquisition. A unique data set, the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia, is used to test the model. This survey had three waves, at about 6 months, 18 months and 3½ years after immigration. The analyses are performed by wave, type of language skill and gender using probit analysis. Bivariate probit analysis is used across waves. The hypotheses are supported by the data. The bivariate probit analysis indicates a positive correlation in the unexplained component that declines with time between waves, indicating a regression to the mean in English language proficiency.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 502.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: May 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, 2004, 71-72, 97-139
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp502
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  1. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul M, 1996. "Ethnic Networks and Language Proficiency among Immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 19-35, February.
  2. 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.
  3. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-89, October.
  4. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2002. "Family Matters: The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Destination Language Acquisition," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 02-06, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  5. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 905, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Psacharopoulos, George, 1979. "On the weak versus the strong version of the screening hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 181-185.
  7. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A, 2000. "Do Selection Criteria Make a Difference? Visa Category and the Labour Market Status of Immigrants to Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 76(232), pages 15-31, March.
  8. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
  9. Barry R. Chiswick, 1998. "Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 253-271.
  10. 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.
  11. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1994. "Language Choice among Immigrants in a Multi-lingual Destination," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 119-31.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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