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Language at Work: The Impact of Linguistic Enclaves on Immigrant Economic Integration

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  • Boyd, Monica
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    This paper studies the role played by linguistic enclaves on the economic integration of immigrants to Canada. Linguistic enclaves are defined as groups of people who are similar with respect to languages used on their jobs. A five category classification of major types of linguistic enclaves is produced, using responses to two questions on the Canadian 2006 census of population: language most often used on the job and language(s) regularly used at work. Two core questions are asked: 1) What factors influence the likelihood of employment in linguistic enclaves; and 2) What are the impacts of working in linguistic enclaves on earnings? These questions are answered by examining the economic integration of immigrant allophone women and men age 26-64 who were employed in 2005 or 2006 and who were enumerated in the 2006 Canadian census of population. The investigation shows that levels of language proficiency are important factors determining the type of language enclave where individuals are employed. Further language at work mediates much of the observed impacts of language proficiency on earnings. Wage determination models also confirm that employment in linguistic enclaves conditions weekly earnings; allophone immigrants who use non-official languages at work have lower wages than those who use only English at work.

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    Paper provided by Vancouver School of Economics in its series CLSSRN working papers with number clsrn_admin-2009-50.

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    Length: 46 pages
    Date of creation: 25 Sep 2009
    Date of revision: 25 Sep 2009
    Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2009-50
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    1. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2002. "Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(1), pages 31-57.
    2. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Marie D. Connolly, 2001. "A Family Affair: The Labor Market Experience of Immigrant Spouses," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 82(4), pages 796-811.
    3. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2003. "The complementarity of language and other human capital: immigrant earnings in Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 469-480, October.
    4. Kennedy, Peter E, 1981. "Estimation with Correctly Interpreted Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations [The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 801-801, September.
    5. Barry Chiswick & Paul Miller, 2001. "A model of destination-language acquisition: Application to male immigrants in Canada," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(3), pages 391-409, August.
    6. Walter S. McManus, 1990. "Labor Market Effects of Language Enclaves: Hispanic Men in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(2), pages 228-252.
    7. Marie T. Mora & Alberto Dávila, 2005. "Ethnic group size, linguistic isolation, and immigrant entrepreneurship in the USA," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 389-404, September.
    8. Halvorsen, Robert & Palmquist, Raymond, 1980. "The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 474-475, June.
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