Matching Language Proficiency to Occupation: The Effect on Immigrants' Earnings

34 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2007

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

Date Written: January 2007

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect on earnings of the matching of English language skills to occupational requirements. It uses data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database and a "Realized Matches" procedure to quantify expected levels of English skills in each of over 500 occupations in the US Census. Earnings data from the 2000 US Census for foreign-born adult male workers are then examined in relation to these occupational English requirements. The analyses show that earnings are related to correct matching of an individual's language skills and that of his occupation. Moreover, the findings are robust with respect to a range of measurement and specification issues. Immigrant settlement policy may have a role to play in matching immigrants to jobs that use their language skills most effectively.

Keywords: English language, earnings, immigrants, schooling

JEL Classification: J24, J31, F22

Suggested Citation

Chiswick, Barry R. and Miller, Paul W., Matching Language Proficiency to Occupation: The Effect on Immigrants' Earnings (January 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2587. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=964970

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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