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The bilingual advantage

Ainoa Aparicio Fenoll and Zoe Kuehn ()

No 645, Carlo Alberto Notebooks from Collegio Carlo Alberto

Abstract: This paper tests for the so-called bilingual advantage, the notion that knowing more than one language improves individuals’ other cognitive skills. We use data on children of Latino immigrants in the United States who have been randomly assigned calculation tests in English or Spanish. After controlling for characteristics of children and their parents, we find that bilingual children perform 0.57 standard deviations better than monolingual children, almost equal to learning gains of two additional school years. Applying the Oster test, we find that selection on unobservables would need to be 10 times stronger than selection on observables to explain away our results. Our heterogeneity analysis reveals that the bilingual advantage is particularly strong among boys.

Keywords: bilingualism; cognitive skills; selection on observables and unobservables. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I2 I24 J15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: pages 15
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ure
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