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

Author

Listed:
  • 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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp502
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:mes:challe:v:34:y:1991:i:6:p:58-60 is not listed on IDEAS
    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. 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 463-489, October.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    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 & 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.
    13. Psacharopoulos, George, 1979. "On the weak versus the strong version of the screening hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 181-185.
    14. 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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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. DeVoretz, Don J. & Hinte, Holger & Werner, Christiane, 2002. "How Much Language is Enough? Some Immigrant Language Lessons from Canada and Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 555, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigrants; language skills; longitudinal survey; Australia;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other

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