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Language Barriers and Immigrant Health Production

Author

Listed:
  • Clarke, Andrew

    () (University of Melbourne)

  • Isphording, Ingo E.

    () (IZA)

Abstract

We study the impact of language deficiency on the health production of childhood migrants to Australia. Our identification strategy relies on a quasi-experiment comparing immigrants arriving at different ages and from different linguistic origins by utilising a measure of differences along a continuous range of linguistic distances. Our main results indicate a large negative effect of English deficiency on physical health that is robust to a range of different specifications. In the presence of considerable non-classical measurement error in self-reported language proficiency, our results provide lower and upper bounds for the true effect of English deficiency on health of one half and a full standard deviation in the health score respectively. The empirical analysis is framed in terms of a Grossman model which indicates a twofold role of language skills in health production: language deficiency directly affects the efficiency of health production and indirectly affects access to health inputs. We provide some suggestive evidence on the relative importance of these distinct roles.

Suggested Citation

  • Clarke, Andrew & Isphording, Ingo E., 2015. "Language Barriers and Immigrant Health Production," IZA Discussion Papers 8846, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8846
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yu Aoki & Lualhati Santiago, 2015. "Fertility, Health and Education of UK Immigrants: The Role of English Language Skills," CINCH Working Paper Series 1510, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health, revised Aug 2015.
    2. Haining Wang & Zhiming Cheng & Russell Smyth, 2016. "Language, Health Outcomes and Health Inequality," Monash Economics Working Papers 43-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    3. Aoki, Yu & Santiago, Lualhati, 2015. "Education, Health and Fertility of UK Immigrants: The Role of English Language Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 9498, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international migration; language skills; health;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • 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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