Age at migration, language proficiency, and socioeconomic outcomes: evidence from Australia

Guven, Cahit and Islam, Asadul 2015, Age at migration, language proficiency, and socioeconomic outcomes: evidence from Australia, Demography, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 513-542, doi: 10.1007/s13524-015-0373-6.

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Title Age at migration, language proficiency, and socioeconomic outcomes: evidence from Australia
Author(s) Guven, CahitORCID iD for Guven, Cahit
Islam, Asadul
Journal name Demography
Volume number 52
Issue number 2
Start page 513
End page 542
Total pages 30
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2015-04
ISSN 0070-3370
Keyword(s) Australia
English proficiency
Instrumental variable
Socioeconomic outcomes
Social Sciences
Summary This study estimates the causal effects of language proficiency on the economic and social integration of Australian immigrants. Identifying the effects of languages on socioeconomic outcomes is inherently difficult owing to the endogeneity of language skills. Using the phenomenon that younger children learn languages more easily than older children, we construct an instrumental variable for language proficiency. To achieve this, we consider the age at arrival of immigrants who came as children from Anglophone and non-Anglophone countries. We find a significant positive effect of English proficiency on wages and promotions among adults who immigrated to Australia as children. Higher levels of English proficiency are associated with increased risk-taking, more smoking, and more exercise for men, but have considerable health benefits for women. English language proficiency has a significant influence on partner choice and a number of social outcomes, as well as on children's outcomes, including their levels of academic achievement. The results are robust to alternative specifications, including accounting for between-sibling differences and alternative measures of English skills.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s13524-015-0373-6
Field of Research 140211 Labour Economics
Socio Economic Objective 910208 Micro Labour Market Issues
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, Springer
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Document type: Journal Article
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Department of Economics
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