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International Migration and the Economics of Language

  • Chiswick, Barry R.


    (George Washington University)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

This paper provides a review of the research on the ‘economics of language' as applied to international migration. Its primary focuses are on: (1) the effect of the language skills of an individual on the choice of destination among international (and internal) migrants, both in terms of the ease of obtaining proficiency in the destination language and access to linguistic enclaves, (2) the determinants of destination language proficiency among international migrants, based on a model (the three E's) of Exposure to the destination language in the origin and destination, Efficiency in the acquisition of destination language skills, and Economic incentives for acquiring this proficiency, (3) the consequences for immigrants of acquiring destination language proficiency, with an emphasis on labor market outcomes, and in particular earnings. Factors that are considered include age, education, gender, family structure, costs of migration, linguistic distance, duration in the destination, return migration, and ethnic enclaves, among others. Analyses are reported for the immigrant experiences in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, Israel and Spain.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7880.

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Length: 96 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Barry R. Chiswick and Paul W. Miller (eds.), Handbook on the Economics of International Immigration, 1A, Elsevier, 2015
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7880
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
  2. Gilles Grenier, 1987. "Earnings by Language Group in Quebec in 1980 and Emigration from Quebec between 1976 and 1981," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 20(4), pages 774-91, November.
  3. Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2005. "Immigrant Earnings: A Longitudinal Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 51(4), pages 485-503, December.
  4. repec:zbw:rwirep:0337 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Jeffrey Grogger & Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "Income Maximization and the Selection and Sorting of International Migrants," NBER Working Papers 13821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Agnieszka Kanas & Barry R. Chiswick & Tanja Lippe & Frank Tubergen, 2012. "Social Contacts and the Economic Performance of Immigrants: A Panel Study of Immigrants in G ermany," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 680-709, 09.
  7. Michael A Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, . "The English Language Fluency and Occupational Success of Ethnic Minority Immigrant Men Living in English Metropolitan Areas," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 99/4, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  8. 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.
  9. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2002. "Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(1), pages 31-57.
  10. Alicia Adsera & Mariola Pytlikova, 2012. "The role of language in shaping international migration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1206, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  11. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "The Complementarity of Language and Other Human Capital: Immigrant Earnings in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 451, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 905, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Isphording, Ingo E. & Otten, Sebastian, 2014. "Linguistic barriers in the destination language acquisition of immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 30-50.
  16. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
  17. GINSBURGH, Victor & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignatio & WEBER, Shlomo, . "Disenfranchisement in linguistically diverse societies: the case of the European Union," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1773, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  18. Mayda, Anna Maria, 2007. "International Migration: A Panel Data Analysis of the Determinants of Bilateral Flows," CEPR Discussion Papers 6289, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Michéle V.K. Belot & Timothy J. Hatton, 2008. "Immigrant Selection in the OECD," CEPR Discussion Papers 571, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  20. Casey Warman, 2006. "Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Earnings Growth," Working Papers 1261, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  21. Dustmann, Christian & Fabbri, Francesca, 2000. "Language Proficiency and Labour Market Performance of Immigrants in the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 2487, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. 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.
  23. Dustmann, Christian, 1996. "Temporary Migration, Human Capital, and Language Fluency of Migrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 1376, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Louis N. Christofides & Robert Swidinsky, 2010. "The Economic Returns to the Knowledge and Use of a Second Official Language: English in Quebec and French in the Rest-of-Canada," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 04-2010, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  25. Pedersen, Peder J. & Pytlikova, Mariola & Smith, Nina, 2008. "Selection and network effects--Migration flows into OECD countries 1990-2000," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1160-1186, October.
  26. 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, 09.
  27. Alfonso Miranda & Yu Zhu, 2012. "English Deficiency and the Native-Immigrant Wage Gap," Studies in Economics 1213, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  28. 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.
  29. Dustmann, C. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1998. "Language Fluency and Earnings : Estimation with Misclassified Language Indicators," Discussion Paper 1998-120, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  30. Evelina Tainer, 1988. "English Language Proficiency and the Determination of Earnings among Foreign-Born Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(1), pages 108-122.
  31. Serge Nadeau & Aylin Seckin, 2010. "The Immigrant Wage Gap in Canada: Quebec and the Rest of Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 36(3), pages 265-285, September.
  32. Chiswick, Barry R, 1991. "Speaking, Reading, and Earnings among Low-Skilled Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 149-70, April.
  33. repec:zbw:rwirep:0274 is not listed on IDEAS
  34. Charette, Michael & Meng, Ronald, 1994. "Explaining language proficiency : Objective versus self-assessed measures of literacy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 313-321.
  35. Kossoudji, Sherrie A, 1988. "English Language Ability and the Labor Market Opportunities of Hispanic and East Asian Immigrant Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 205-28, April.
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