Skip to main content

Ethnic networks and language proficiency among immigrants

Abstract

Recent research on the linguistic adjustment of minority-language speaking immigrants in several destinations has found that acquisition of destination language skills is inhibited by living in an area where many others speak the same minority language. This paper uses a unique data set for Australia (1988) that includes a variety of ethnic network variables to analyze the role of the language concentration measure. These ethnic variables, in particular, ethnic press, relatives in Australia, and spouse’s origin language, are highly statistically significant. Their inclusion in the equation eliminates the effect of the minority-language concentration variable. The model for analyzing the determinants of English reading and English writing skills in Australia is also shown to be very similar to the model for speaking fluency, including the effect of the ethnic network variables.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Beenstock M (1993) Learning Hebrew and finding a job. Econometric analysis of immigrant absorption in Israel. Paper presented at the Conference on the Economics of International Migration: Econometric Evidence, February, Konstanz, Germany

  • Breton A (1978a) Bilingualism. An economic approach. CD Howe Research Institute, Montreal

    Google Scholar 

  • Breton A (1978b) Nationalism and language policies. Can J Econ 11:656–668

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chapman BJ, Iredale RR (1993) Immigrant qualifications. Recognition and relative wage outcomes. Int Migrat Rev 27:359–387

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chiswick BR (1991) Speaking, reading and earnings among low skilled immigrants. J Labor Econ 9:149–170

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chiswick BR, Miller PW (1992) Language in the labor market. The immigrant experience in Canada and the United States. In: Chiswick BR (ed) Immigration, language and ethnic issues: Canada and the United States. American Enterprise Institute, Washington DC, pp 229–296

    Google Scholar 

  • Chiswick BR, Miller PW (1994) Language choice among immigrants in a multi-lingual destination. J Popul Econ 7:119–131

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chiswick BR, Miller PW (1995) The endogeneity between language and earnings. International analyses. J Labor Econ 13: No. 2, April

  • Chiswick BR, Miller PW (forthcoming) Language and labor supply. The role of gender among immigrants in Australia. In: Slottje D (ed) Research on economic inequality, vol. 5. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT

  • Clyne M (1991) Community languages. The Australian experience. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Dustmann C (1994) Speaking fluency, writing fluency and earnings of migrants in Germany. J Popul Econ 7:133–156

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Evans MDR (1986) Sources of immigrants’ language proficiency. Australian results with comparisons to the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America. Eur Sociol Rev 2:226–236

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnson G, Solon G (1986) Estimates of the direct effects of comparable worth policy. Am Econ Rev 76:1117–1125

    Google Scholar 

  • Kee P-K (1989) The language dimensions. Issues in multicultural Australia. Report to the Office of Multicultural Affairs

  • Veltman C (1983) Language shift in the United States. Mouton Publishers, Berlin

    Google Scholar 

  • White H. (1980) A heteroskedasticity-consistent covariance matrix estimator and a direct test for heteroskedasticity. Econometrica 48:817–835

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Chiswick, B.R., Miller, P.W. Ethnic networks and language proficiency among immigrants. J Popul Econ 9, 19–35 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/PL00013277

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/PL00013277

Keywords

  • Language Proficiency
  • Minority Language
  • Language Fluency
  • Australian Census
  • Ethnic Network