Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 243–268 | Cite as

“Parents and Children Talk: English Language Proficiency within Immigrant Families”

  • Barry R. ChiswickEmail author
  • Yew Liang Lee
  • Paul W. Miller


This paper extends the analysis of the acquisition of destination language proficiency among immigrants by explicitly incorporating interactions among family members—mother, father and children. Single equation, bivariate, and four-equation (multivariate) probit analyses are employed. Immigrant English language skills are greater the younger the age at migration, the longer the duration of residence, the higher the level of education, and for immigrants not from Asia. Large positive correlations in the unmeasured determinants of proficiency exist between spouses, between siblings, and between parents and children, although the latter relationship is stronger for the mother. The findings imply that learning takes place within the household.

Key words

immigrants language family multivariate probit 

JEL Classification

F22 J15 J16 J24 J61 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry R. Chiswick
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yew Liang Lee
    • 2
  • Paul W. Miller
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Economics (M/C 144)University of Illinois at Chicago, IZA-Institute for the Study of LaborChicagoUSA
  2. 2.University of Western AustraliaAustralia

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