Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants*

University of Houston
Review of Economics and Statistics (Impact Factor: 2.66). 02/2004; 86(2):481-496.
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT Research on the effect of language skills on earnings is complicated by the endogeneity of language skills. This study exploits the phenomenon that younger children learn languages more easily than older children to construct an instrumental variable for language proficiency. We find a significant positive effect of English proficiency on wages among adults who immigrated to the United States as children. Much of this effect appears to be mediated through education. Differences between non-English-speaking origin countries and English-speaking ones that might make immigrants from the latter a poor control group for nonlanguage age-at-arrival effects do not appear to drive these findings. Copyright (c) 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The process of globalization has forced workers (essentially white collars) to learn foreign languages and break linguistic barriers. In most cases, Europeans have chosen English as a second language. But English is not the only language that has an economic impact on international trade. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effect of the most important foreign languages used at the workplace on wages of men and women, both at the mean and along the wage distribution, in Northern and Southern Europe (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain). Workers from both genders benefit from a premium, but there are marked differences between North European and South European countries.
    Kyklos 01/2013; 66(4):552-566. · 0.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We investigate the eect of speaking Spanish at home as a child on completed schooling and aptitude test scores using data on Hispanics who grew up in the U.S. from the NLSY79. We model the accumulation of traditional human capital and English uency, leading to the joint determination of schooling and test scores. We nd that speaking Spanish at home reduces test scores but has no signicant eect on completed schooling. The reduction in test scores is more dramatic the higher the education of the parents and when the choice of home language is endogenous.
    Economic Inquiry 01/2013; · 0.98 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We focus on the effect of English deficiency on the native-immigrant wage gap for male employees in the UK using the first wave of the UK Household Longitudinal Survey. We show that the wage gap is robust to controls for age, region of residence, educational attainment and ethnicity. However, English as Additional Language (EAL) is capable of explaining virtually all the remaining wage gap between natives and immigrants. Using the interaction of language of country of birth and age-at-arrival as instrument, we find strong evidence of a causal effect of EAL on the native-immigrant wage gap.
    Economics Letters 01/2013; · 0.45 Impact Factor


Available from