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Matching Language Proficiency to Occupation: The Effect on Immigrants' Earnings

Author

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  • Barry R Chiswick

    (Department of Economics, The University of Illinois at Chicago and The IZA-Institute for the Study of Labor)

  • Paul W Miller

    (UWA Business School, The University of Western Australia)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect on earnings of the matching of English language skills to occupational requirements. It uses data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database and a “Realized Matches” procedure to quantify expected levels of English skills in each of over 500 occupations in the US Census. Earnings data from the 2000 US Census for foreign-born adult male workers are then examined in relation to these occupational English requirements. The analyses show that earnings are related to correct matching of an individual’s language skills and that of his occupation. Moreover, the findings are robust with respect to a range of measurement and specification issues. Immigrant settlement policy may have a role to play in matching immigrants to jobs that use their language skills most effectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry R Chiswick & Paul W Miller, 2007. "Matching Language Proficiency to Occupation: The Effect on Immigrants' Earnings," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 07-07, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:07-07
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    File URL: http://www.biz.uwa.edu.au/home/research/discussionworking_papers/economics?f=154252
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    Cited by:

    1. Núria Quella & Silvio Rendon, 2012. "Occupational selection in multilingual labor markets: the case of Catalonia," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(8), pages 918-937, November.
    2. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Torres, Javier, 2016. "Foreign human capital and the earnings gap between immigrants and Canadian-born workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 104-119.
    3. Chiswick, Barry R. & Taengnoi, Sarinda, 2007. "Occupational Choice of High Skilled Immigrants in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 2969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    English Language; Earnings; Immigrants; Schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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