How Labor Migrants Fare

Part of the series Population Economics pp 223-249

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

  • Barry R. ChiswickAffiliated withDepartment of Economics (M/C 144), University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Paul W. MillerAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of Western Australia

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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.

Key words

Earnings immigrants language business cycle ethnic concentrations

JEL classification

J31 J61 J24 J15