publication . Preprint . Report . 2011

Immigrant-Native Substitutability: The Role of Language Ability

Ethan Lewis;
Open Access
  • Published: 01 Nov 2011
Abstract
Wage evidence suggests that immigrant workers are imperfectly substitutable for native-born workers with similar education and experience. Using U.S. Censuses and recent American Community Survey data, I ask to what extent differences in language skills drive this. I find they are important. I estimate that the response of immigrants' relative wages to immigration is concentrated among immigrants with poor English skills. Similarly, immigrants who arrive at young ages, as adults, both have stronger English skills and exhibit greater substitutability for native-born workers than immigrants who arrive older. In U.S. markets where Spanish speakers are concentrated,...
Subjects
Medical Subject Headings: health care economics and organizationseducationbehavioral disciplines and activities
free text keywords: jel:J24, jel:J31, jel:J61
24 references, page 1 of 2

Bleakley, and Aimee Chin. “Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants.” The Review of Economics and Statistics 86(2): May 2004, p. 481-496.

Borjas, George J. “The Economics of Immigration.” Journal of Economic Literature 32(4): December 1994, p 1667-1717.

----. “Labor Outflows and Labor Inflows in Puerto Rico.” Journal of Human Capital 2(1): Spring 2008, pp. 32-68.

Card, David. “Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration,” Journal of Labor Economics 19(1), January 2001, pp. 22-64.

----, “Immigration and Inequality,” The American Economic Review 99(2), May 2009, pp. 1-21.

Card, David, and John DiNardo, “Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?” The American Economic Review 90(2), May 2000, pp. 360-367.

Card, David, and Ethan Lewis. “The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts.” In George J. Borjas, ed., Mexican Immigration to the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Carliner, Geoffrey. “The Wages and Language Skills of U.S. Immigrants.” NBER Working Paper 5763, September 1996. [OpenAIRE]

Castillo, Federico, J. Keith Gilless, and Steven Raphael. “Comparing the Domestic Labor Market Impacts of a South-North and South-South Migration: The Cases of Costa Rica and the United States.” Mimeo, UC Berkeley, September 2009.

Chiswick, Barry R. and Paul W. Miller. “The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses.” Journal of Labor Economics 13(2): April 1995, pp. 246-288.

----. “Occupational Language Requirements and the Value of English in the U.S. Labor Market.” IZA DP No. 2664, March 2007.

Cutler, David M., Edward L. Glaeser, and Jacob L. Vigdor. “When Are Ghettos Bad? Lessons from Immigrant Segregation in the United States.” Journal of Urban Economics 63(3): 759-74.

Dustmann, Christian and Arthur van Soest. “Language Fluency and Earnings: Estimation with Misclassified Language Indicators.” Review of Economics and Statistics 83: 2001, 663-674. [OpenAIRE]

----. “Language and the Earnings of Immigrants.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 55(3): 2002, pp. 473-492.

Ferrer, Ana, David A. Green and Craig W. Riddell. “The Effect of Literacy on Immigrant Earnings.” The Journal of Human Resources 41: 2006, 380-410.

24 references, page 1 of 2
Abstract
Wage evidence suggests that immigrant workers are imperfectly substitutable for native-born workers with similar education and experience. Using U.S. Censuses and recent American Community Survey data, I ask to what extent differences in language skills drive this. I find they are important. I estimate that the response of immigrants' relative wages to immigration is concentrated among immigrants with poor English skills. Similarly, immigrants who arrive at young ages, as adults, both have stronger English skills and exhibit greater substitutability for native-born workers than immigrants who arrive older. In U.S. markets where Spanish speakers are concentrated,...
Subjects
Medical Subject Headings: health care economics and organizationseducationbehavioral disciplines and activities
free text keywords: jel:J24, jel:J31, jel:J61
24 references, page 1 of 2

Bleakley, and Aimee Chin. “Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants.” The Review of Economics and Statistics 86(2): May 2004, p. 481-496.

Borjas, George J. “The Economics of Immigration.” Journal of Economic Literature 32(4): December 1994, p 1667-1717.

----. “Labor Outflows and Labor Inflows in Puerto Rico.” Journal of Human Capital 2(1): Spring 2008, pp. 32-68.

Card, David. “Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration,” Journal of Labor Economics 19(1), January 2001, pp. 22-64.

----, “Immigration and Inequality,” The American Economic Review 99(2), May 2009, pp. 1-21.

Card, David, and John DiNardo, “Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?” The American Economic Review 90(2), May 2000, pp. 360-367.

Card, David, and Ethan Lewis. “The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts.” In George J. Borjas, ed., Mexican Immigration to the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Carliner, Geoffrey. “The Wages and Language Skills of U.S. Immigrants.” NBER Working Paper 5763, September 1996. [OpenAIRE]

Castillo, Federico, J. Keith Gilless, and Steven Raphael. “Comparing the Domestic Labor Market Impacts of a South-North and South-South Migration: The Cases of Costa Rica and the United States.” Mimeo, UC Berkeley, September 2009.

Chiswick, Barry R. and Paul W. Miller. “The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses.” Journal of Labor Economics 13(2): April 1995, pp. 246-288.

----. “Occupational Language Requirements and the Value of English in the U.S. Labor Market.” IZA DP No. 2664, March 2007.

Cutler, David M., Edward L. Glaeser, and Jacob L. Vigdor. “When Are Ghettos Bad? Lessons from Immigrant Segregation in the United States.” Journal of Urban Economics 63(3): 759-74.

Dustmann, Christian and Arthur van Soest. “Language Fluency and Earnings: Estimation with Misclassified Language Indicators.” Review of Economics and Statistics 83: 2001, 663-674. [OpenAIRE]

----. “Language and the Earnings of Immigrants.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 55(3): 2002, pp. 473-492.

Ferrer, Ana, David A. Green and Craig W. Riddell. “The Effect of Literacy on Immigrant Earnings.” The Journal of Human Resources 41: 2006, 380-410.

24 references, page 1 of 2
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