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Can there be too much information? Heterogeneous responses to information on benefits from language proficiency


  • Fabian Koenings

    (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)


Immigrants who have a better command of the host country’s language are more likely to be employed and earn higher wages. Using a survey experiment among international students in Germany, I investigate whether information on the monetary benefits of mastering the language of the host country influences the intention to learn that language. The results show heterogeneous responses conditional on the current level of German language proficiency. The intended participation of international students with high German language skills is not affected, students with medium German language skills are positively affected and those with low or no German language skills are negatively affected. For policy makers, seeking to increase the level of language proficiency, this surprising negative effect suggests that there can be too much information.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Koenings, 2021. "Can there be too much information? Heterogeneous responses to information on benefits from language proficiency," Jena Economic Research Papers 2021-016, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2021-016

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    More about this item


    language learning; information experiment; migration; international students;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • 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
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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