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The Impact of Language Proficiency on Immigrants' Earnings in Spain

Author

Listed:
  • Budría, Santiago

    () (Universidad Pontificia Comillas)

  • Swedberg, Pablo

    () (St. Louis University)

Abstract

This article uses micro-data from the Spanish National Immigrant Survey to investigate the impact of Spanish language proficiency on immigrants' earnings. The results, based on Instrumental Variables (IV), point to a substantial earnings return to Spanish proficiency, of approximately 27%. This figure varies largely across educational groups, with high-qualified workers earning a premium of almost 50%. This conspicuous complementarity between formal qualifications and language skills poses a challenge for traditional language training policies, for these typically neglect the immigrants' heterogeneous educational background.

Suggested Citation

  • Budría, Santiago & Swedberg, Pablo, 2012. "The Impact of Language Proficiency on Immigrants' Earnings in Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 6957, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6957
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Antonio Di Paolo & Josep Lluís Raymond, 2012. "Language knowledge and earnings in Catalonia," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 15, pages 89-118, May.
    2. Cristina Fernández & Carolina Ortega, 2008. "Labor market assimilation of immigrants in Spain: employment at the expense of bad job-matches?," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 83-107, June.
    3. Izquierdo, Mario & Lacuesta, Aitor & Vegas, Raquel, 2009. "Assimilation of immigrants in Spain: A longitudinal analysis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 669-678, December.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2003. "The complementarity of language and other human capital: immigrant earnings in Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 469-480, October.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2003. "Language proficiency and labour market performance of immigrants in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 695-717, July.
    6. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
    7. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-130, April.
    8. Aldashev, Alisher & Gernandt, Johannes & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2009. "Language usage, participation, employment and earnings: Evidence for foreigners in West Germany with multiple sources of selection," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 330-341, June.
    9. Antonio di Paolo, 2011. "Knowledge of catalan, public/prívate sector choice and earnings: Evidence from a double sample selection model," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 197(2), pages 9-35, June.
    10. Geoffrey Carliner, 1981. "Wage Differences by Language Group and the Market for Language Skills in Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(3), pages 384-399.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zorlu, Aslan & Hartog, Joop, 2018. "The Impact of Language on Socioeconomic Integration of Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 11485, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Yuxin Yao & Jan C. van Ours, 2015. "Language Skills and Labor Market Performance of Immigrants in the Netherlands," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1505, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    3. De Paola, Maria & Brunello, Giorgio, 2016. "Education as a Tool for the Economic Integration of Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 9836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Jan C. van Ours & Yuxin Yao, 2016. "The Wage Penalty of Dialect-Speaking," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-091/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Bonin, Holger, 2017. "The Potential Economic Benefits of Education of Migrants in the EU," IZA Research Reports 75, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Chiswick, Barry R. & Wang, Zhiling, 2016. "Social Contacts, Dutch Language Proficiency and Immigrant Economic Performance in the Netherlands: A Longitudinal Study," IZA Discussion Papers 9760, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. van Ours, Jan C. & Yao, Yuxin, 2016. "The Wage Penalty of Dialect-Speaking," CEPR Discussion Papers 11610, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Yao, Yuxin & van Ours, Jan C., 2015. "Language skills and labor market performance of immigrants in the Netherlands," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 76-85.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    instrumental variables; immigration; Spanish language proficiency; earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • 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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