Article

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. DOI: 10.1162/003465304323031067
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.

0 Followers
 · 
116 Views
  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper seeks to estimate the causal effects of language proficiency on the economic and social integration of Australian immigrants. Identifying the effects of languages on socio-economic outcomes is inherently difficult due to the endogeneity of language skills. This study uses the phenomenon that younger children learn languages more easily than older children to construct an instrumental variable for language proficiency. To achieve this, we consider the age at arrival of immigrants who came as children from Anglophone and non-Anglophone countries. We find a significant positive effect of English proficiency on wages and promotions among adults who immigrated to Australia as children. Higher levels of English proficiency are associated with increased risk-taking, more smoking, and more exercise for men, but have considerable health benefits for women. English language proficiency has a significant influence on partner choice and a number of social outcomes, as well as on children’s outcomes, including their levels of academic achievement. The results are robust to alternative specifications, including accounting for between-sibling differences and alternative measures of English skills.
    Demography 01/2016; · 1.93 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper studies the formation and persistence of gender identity in a sample of U.S. immigrants. We show that gender roles are acquired early in life, and once established, persist regardless of how long an individual has lived in the U.S. We use a novel approach relying on linguistic variation and document that households with individuals whose native language emphasizes gender in its grammatical structure are significantly more likely to allocate household tasks on the basis of sex and to do so more intensively. We present evidence of two mechanisms for our observed associations – that languages serve as cultural markers for origin country norms or that features of language directly influence cognition and behavior. Our findings do not appear to be driven by plausible alternatives such as selection in migration and marriage markets, as gender norms of behavior are evident even in the behavior of single person households.
    Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 02/2015; 110. DOI:10.1016/j.jebo.2014.11.010 · 1.01 Impact Factor

Preview

Download
0 Downloads
Available from