[Lmresearch] New NBER paper--The Return to English in a Non-English Speaking Country: Russian Immigrants and Native Israelis in Israel (fwd)

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Fri Aug 25 16:35:05 UTC 2006

Forwarded from UC Linguistic Minority Research Institute

            by Kevin Lang, Erez Siniver - #12464 (LS)

            We use a unique sample of Russian immigrants and natives in
Israel to examine the return to English knowledge. In cross-section
estimates there is a significant return to English knowledge for both
immigrants and natives with high levels of education. Language acquisition
is an important element in immigrant/native earnings convergence, but most
of this convergence is explained by factors other than language
acquisition. These results are confirmed using panel data on wages and
knowledge of Hebrew and English over time. The benefits of English
knowledge vary across occupations in ways that are largely consistent with
past evidence on language-skill complementarity. Natives and immigrants
with high levels of education benefit similarly from knowing English.
While immigrants with low levels of education do not benefit from
knowledge of English, there is some evidence that native Israelis do.
Conditional on occupation, the rate at which immigrants learn English and
Hebrew are largely orthogonal. Therefore earlier work on the importance of
knowledge of the host-country language (Hebrew) does not appear to be
significantly biased by the absence of measures of English knowledge.

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