Literacy and the Migrant–Native Wage Gap

34 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Oliver Himmler

Oliver Himmler

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Department of Economics; Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Robert Jäckle

Technische Hochschule Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm - Department of Business Administration

Date Written: September 2018

Abstract

Being able to read and write is one of the most important skills in modern economies. Literacy frequently is a prerequisite for employment and its relevance for productivity and wages is magnified by the fact that it is only through literacy that many other skills become usable. More so than for natives, this argument applies to migrants: even those with high levels of human capital acquired in the country of origin often have it rendered worthless by the absence of literacy in the host‐country language. Using novel data from a large‐scale German adult literacy test (“leo.—Level‐One Studie”, or “LEO”), we investigate the determinants of literacy and show that migrants have systematically lower language skills than natives. We find that any observed raw employment and wage gaps between natives and migrants can be fully explained by these differences.

Keywords: literacy, migration, wage gap, discrimination

JEL Classification: J24, J31, J61

Suggested Citation

Himmler, Oliver and Jäckle, Robert, Literacy and the Migrant–Native Wage Gap (September 2018). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 64, Issue 3, pp. 592-625, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254461 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/roiw.12299

Oliver Himmler (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Department of Economics ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/dr-oliver-himmler/480040.html

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt Schumacher Str 10
Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.coll.mpg.de/team/page/oliver_himmler

Robert Jäckle

Technische Hochschule Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm - Department of Business Administration

Germany

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