Compulsory Language Educational Policies and Identity Formation

Journal of the European Economic Association (Impact Factor: 1.36). 04/2008; 6(2-3):434-444. DOI: 10.1162/JEEA.2008.6.2-3.434
Source: RePEc


Education can be at the root of the process of identity formation. Using survey data from Catalonia and the Basque Country, where in 1983 the education system became bilingual, we study how parental choices and schooling interact with each other and contribute to the development of individual identity. The difference between the reforms implemented in the two Spanish regions is that whereas in Catalonia the reform was compulsory, in the Basque Country parents could choose the language used to educate their children. Results show a significant effect of the compulsory language policy implemented in Catalonia on identity, whereas the non-compulsory language policy implemented in the Basque Country does not have any effect. (c) 2008 by the European Economic Association.

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Available from: Joan Costa I Font, Sep 25, 2015
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    • "Starting from that academic year, Catalan became a co-official language of instruction, which means that both Catalan and Spanish were used in education. Ours is not the first paper studying this reform, as other studies have investigated its effects on Catalan proficiency and on feelings of Catalan identity (see Rendon, 2007; Aspachs-Bracons et al., 2008; Clots-Figueras and Masella, 2013). We estimate the earnings effects of the 1983 reform for the first time. "
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    ABSTRACT: We exploit the 1983 language-in-education reform that introduced Catalan alongside Spanish as medium of instruction in Catalan schools to estimate the labour market value of bilingual education. Identification is achieved in a difference-indifferences framework exploiting variation in exposure to the reform across years of schooling and years of birth. We find positive wage returns to bilingual education and no effects on employment, hours of work or occupation. Results are robust to education-cohort specific trends or selection into schooling and are mainly stemming from exposure at compulsory education. We show that the effect worked through increased Catalan proficiency for Spanish speakers and that there were also positive effects for Catalan speakers from families with low education. These findings are consistent with human capital effects rather than with more efficient job search or reduced discrimination. Exploiting the heterogeneous effects of the reform as an instrument for proficiency we find sizeable earnings effects of skills in Catalan.
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    • "Our study is directly related to the rapidly growing strand of economics literature that analyzes languages and language policies (e.g., Wickström 2005; Ortega and Tangerås 2008; Aspachs-Bracons et al. 2008; Fidrmuc, Ginsburgh, and Weber 2009; Ginsburgh and Weber 2010). It is also related to the education literature in as much as it examines the issue of bilingualism as well as the issues of languages of instruction and testing in schools (e.g., Ovando 2003; Parker, Rubalcava, and Teruel 2005, Menken 2008; Wiley, Lee, and Rumberger 2009). "
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    • "It is worth noting that very few non-white natives report any problem with English so, as one might expect, all language problems affect only the first generation. In this context it is worth noting that there has been little or no dissent in the UK from the view that all education should be in English so bilingualism is not the issue it is in some other countries (see, for example, Aspachs-Bracons et al 2008a,b, or Angrist et al, 2008) 6 Details of the construct of this and other composite measures can be found in Appendix A. 7 Unfortunately the routing of the questions does not ask abut proficiency for those who speak English at home (and we assume they are proficient) even though there are, for example, well-known literacy problems among segments of the white native population. "
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