Speaking in Tongues: Language as both Human Capital and Ethnicity
We estimate earnings differentials for knowledge of 13 minority languages in Canada's three largest urban areas. We find that conditional on knowledge of a majority language, knowledge of a minority language is associated with lower earnings. However, the negative differential diminishes for those languages with large local populations. This suggests a positive human capital effect which is for the most part swamped by a negative factor. We argue that this factor is a reflection of ethnicity operating either through ethno-linguistic labour market enclaves or labour market discrimination against minorities.
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