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Are there rewards for language skills? Evidence from the earnings of registered nurses

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  • Coombs, Christopher
  • Cebula, Richard

Abstract

The existing empirical evidence on whether U.S. labor markets reward workers for second-language skills is meager and conflicting. Employing data from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses in 2000 and 2004, this study reexamines the positive bilingual-earnings relationship found in the most current research on this topic. We test the relationship using alternative models that explain the wages earned by nurses. The advantage of this approach is that it permits an assessment of how sensitive the results are to changes in the variables used in the model. We find the evidence of a positive bilingual effect on earnings to be mixed. The relationship is sufficiently frail that statistically significant results eventually dissolve as more precise occupational characteristics are included in the wage equation. Moreover, using more current data, we find no evidence of a wage premium paid to nurses for second-language skills. We offer possible explanations for this lack of evidence within this specific occupation.

Suggested Citation

  • Coombs, Christopher & Cebula, Richard, 2009. "Are there rewards for language skills? Evidence from the earnings of registered nurses," MPRA Paper 49646, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49646
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/49646/1/MPRA_paper_49646.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 246-288, April.
    2. Gilles Grenier, 1984. "The Effects of Language Characteristics on the Wages of Hispanic-American Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(1), pages 35-52.
    3. Stephen T. Mennemeyer & Gary Gaumer, 1983. "Nursing Wages and the Value of Educational Credentials," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 32-48.
    4. Hirsch, Barry T. & Schumacher, Edward J., 1995. "Monopsony power and relative wages in the labor market for nurses," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 443-476, October.
    5. Botelho, Anabela & Bland Jones, Cheryl & Kiker, B. F., 1998. "Nursing wages and educational credentials: the role of work experience and selectivity bias," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 297-306, June.
    6. 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 101-130, April.
    7. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    8. Magee, L. & Robb, A. L. & Burbidge, J. B., 1998. "On the use of sampling weights when estimating regression models with survey data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 251-271, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brian Fabo & Miroslav BeblavĂ˝ & Karolien Lenaerts, 2017. "The importance of foreign language skills in the labour markets of Central and Eastern Europe: assessment based on data from online job portals," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 487-508, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    languages skills rewards; earnings; registered nurses;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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