Language Knowledge and Earnings in Catalonia

Journal of Applied Economics. Vol XV, No. 1 (May 2012), 89-118

Posted: 13 Jun 2012

See all articles by Antonio Di Paolo

Antonio Di Paolo

University of Barcelona

Josep Lluís Raymond

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 1, 2012


This paper represents the first contribution that investigates the economic value of Catalan knowledge in terms of earnings, focusing on national and foreign first- and second-generation immigrants in Catalonia. Specifically, drawing on data from the Survey on Living Conditions and Habits of the Catalan Population (2006), we quantify the expected earnings differential between individuals who are proficient in Catalan and those who are not, taking into account the potential endogeneity between knowledge of Catalan and earnings. The results indicate the existence of a positive return to knowledge of Catalan, with a 7.5% increase in earnings estimated by OLS. When we account for the presence of endogeneity, monthly earnings are around 18% higher for individuals who are able to speak and write Catalan. We also find that language and education are complementary inputs for generating earnings in Catalonia, given that knowledge of Catalan increases monthly earnings only for more educated individuals.

Keywords: language, earnings, immigrants, endogeneity, complementarity, Antonio

JEL Classification: J79, J24, J61, C31

Suggested Citation

Di Paolo, Antonio and Raymond, Josep Lluís, Language Knowledge and Earnings in Catalonia (May 1, 2012). Journal of Applied Economics. Vol XV, No. 1 (May 2012), 89-118, Available at SSRN:

Antonio Di Paolo

University of Barcelona ( email )

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
Barcelona, 08007

Josep Lluís Raymond (Contact Author)

Autonomous University of Barcelona ( email )

Plaça Cívica
Cerdañola del Valles
Barcelona, Barcelona 08193

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