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English as the Lingua Franca and the Economic Value of Other Languages: the Case of the Language of Work of Immigrants and Non-immigrants in the Montreal Labour Market

  • Gilles Grenier


    (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON)

  • Serge Nadeau


    (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON)

With data from the 2006 Canadian census, we investigate the determinants and the economic values of different languages used at work in the Montreal metropolitan area. The working population is divided into three mother tongues groups: French, English and Others. Three indicators are defined: use of French at work as a second language, and use of an official language at work as opposed to an non-official language. One interesting result is that there is no relationship between schooling and the use of French at work for the English mother tongue group, while schooling is positively related to the use of English at work for the French mothe tongue group and to the use of an offical language at work for the Other mother tongues group. We look at the returns to using a second language at work by means of earnings regressions (with both OLS and IV to account for the endogeneity of the language of work). We find that for the English mother tongue group, using French at work does not pay. In contract, there is a high payoff to using English at work for the French Mother tongue group. For the Other mother tongues group, there is a high payoff to using an official language at work and a modest one to using English instead of French.

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Paper provided by University of Ottawa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1107E.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:1107e
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  1. Austin Nichols, 2009. "Causal inference," DC09 Stata Conference 8, Stata Users Group.
  2. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1994. "Language Choice among Immigrants in a Multi-lingual Destination," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 119-31.
  3. Serge Nadeau, 2009. "Another Look at the Francophone Wage Gap in Canada:Public vs Private Sector, Quebec vs Outside Quebec," Working Papers 0912E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
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