Language Skills and Earnings Among Legalized Aliens

Posted: 30 Jun 1999

See all articles by Barry R. Chiswick

Barry R. Chiswick

University of Illinois at Chicago; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Paul W. Miller

Curtin University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Curtin University - Centre for Research in Applied Economics

Abstract

This paper uses the data on males and females from the 1989 Legalized Population Survey (LPS), a sample of aliens granted amnesty under 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, to analyze English language proficiency and earnings. We use a model of English language proficiency that is based on economic incentives, exposure and efficiency variables that measure the costs and benefits of acquiring English language skills. Consistent with the model, in this sample of former illegal aliens, English language proficiency is greater for those with more schooling, who immigrated at a younger age, who have been in the United States longer, with a more continuous stay, and who have less access to other origin language speakers where they live. Earnings are higher by about 8% for men and 17% for women who are proficient in both speaking and reading English, compared to those lacking both skills.

JEL Classification: J24, J31, J61, J15

Suggested Citation

Chiswick, Barry R. and Miller, Paul W., Language Skills and Earnings Among Legalized Aliens. Journal of Population Economics, Vol. 12, Issue 1, 1999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=151454

Barry R. Chiswick (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

601 S. Morgan Street, Room 2103UH
Chicago, IL 60607-7121
United States
312-996-2683 (Phone)
312-996-3344 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Paul W. Miller

Curtin University of Technology - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

GPO Box U1987
Perth WA 6845
Australia

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Curtin University - Centre for Research in Applied Economics ( email )

GPO Box U1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845
Australia

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