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The Impact of Language Proficiency on Immigrants' Earnings in Spain

  • Budría, Santiago

    ()

    (University of Madeira)

  • Swedberg, Pablo

    ()

    (St. Louis University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6957.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Revista de Economía Aplicada
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6957
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  1. Dustmann, Christian & Fabbri, Francesca, 2000. "Language Proficiency and Labour Market Performance of Immigrants in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 156, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Cristina Fernández & Carolina Ortega, 2008. "Labor market assimilation of immigrants in Spain: employment at the expense of bad job-matches?," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 83-107, June.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Antonio Di Paolo & Josep Lluís Raymond, 2012. "Language knowledge and earnings in Catalonia," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 89-118, May.
  7. Mario Izquierdo & Aitor Lacuesta & Raquel Vegas, 2009. "Assimilation of immigrants in Spain: A longitudinal analysis," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0904, Banco de Espa�a.
  8. 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 101-30, April.
  9. Thomsen, Stephan L. & Gernandt, Johannes & Aldashev, Alisher, 2008. "Language Usage, Participation, Employment and Earnings: Evidence for Foreigners in West Germany with Multiple Sources of Selection," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-090, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Amuedo Dorantes, Catalina & De la Rica Goiricelaya, Sara, 2006. "Labor Market Assimilation of Recent Immigrants in Spain," DFAEII Working Papers 2006-01, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  11. 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.
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