Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 31–57 | Cite as

Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle

  • Barry R. Chiswick
  • Paul W. Miller


This study of the determinants of earnings among adult foreign-born men using the 1990 Census of Population focuses on the effects of the respondent's own English language skills, the effects of living in a linguistic concentration area, and the effects of the stage of the business cycle at entry into the U.S. labor market. The analysis demonstrates the importance of English language fluency among the foreign born from non-English speaking countries. There is also strong evidence for the complementarity between language skills and other forms of human capital. Furthermore, there is strong evidence using selectivity correction techniques for the endogeneity between language and earnings.

JEL classification: J31, J61, J24, J15 
Key words: Earnings, immigrants, language, business cycle, ethnic concentrations 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry R. Chiswick
    • 1
  • Paul W. Miller
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Economics (M/C 144), S. Morgan St. 601, 60607-7121 Chicago IL, USA (Fax: +1-312-996-3344; e-mail:
  2. 2.University of Western Australia, Department of Economics, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia (Fax: 61-8-9380-1035; e-mail:

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