Occupational Selection in Multilingual Labor Markets: The Case of Catalonia
In multilingual labor markets agents with high proficiency in more than one language may be selected into occupations that require high levels of skill in communicating with customers or writing reports in more than one language. In this paper we measure this effect in Catalonia, where two languages, Catalan and Spanish, coexist. Using census data for 1991 and 1996, and controlling for endogeneity of Catalan knowledge, we find that proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing Catalan reinforces selection into being employed, being an entrepreneur, and into white-collar occupations and communication-intensive jobs. In particular, being able to read and speak Catalan increases the probability of selection into white collar occupations by betwen 9 and 14 percentage points, while writing Catalan increases by 6 to 13 percentage points the probability of engaging in services, and government and educational activities.
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