The Impact of Missionary Type on the English Language Proficiency and Earnings of Immigrants

40 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2015

See all articles by Nick Larsen

Nick Larsen

Eastern Washington University

Barry R. Chiswick

University of Illinois at Chicago; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of missionary activity on English language proficiency and labor market earnings of all immigrants to the United States by using the pooled files of the American Community Survey (2005-09). We consider the colonial heritage of the origin country to determine if it is a missionary effect or an effect of colonial rule. Our results suggest immigrants from countries with a high concentration of Protestant missionaries tend to exhibit higher levels of English proficiency and earnings compared to Catholic missionaries. Furthermore, a higher proficiency in English enhances earnings. One of the important implications of the findings in this paper is that a "missionary variable" often used in other studies is too aggregate and may mask important findings because of strikingly different effects of Protestant and Catholic activities.

Keywords: immigrants, Protestant, Catholic, missionaries, earnings, schooling, English language, proficiency, American Community Survey

JEL Classification: F22, J61, J31, J24, Z12

Suggested Citation

Larsen, Nick and Chiswick, Barry R., The Impact of Missionary Type on the English Language Proficiency and Earnings of Immigrants. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9500. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2693929

Nick Larsen (Contact Author)

Eastern Washington University

Barry R. Chiswick

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

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