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Does geographical exposure to language learning centres matter in a bilingual city?

Antonio Di Paolo () and Bernat Mallén ()
Additional contact information
Bernat Mallén: AQR-IREA, University of Barcelona.

No 202205, IREA Working Papers from University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics

Abstract: In this paper, we investigate the effects of geographical exposure to local language training centres in a bilingual urban labour market, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, exploiting the implementation of a language policy that provided publicly subsidized language courses for adults. Our variable of interest consists in a measure of spatial availability of language schools that captures potential exposure and its expansion over time. First, we focus on the formation of local language skills, adopting a reduced-form approach. Our results indicate that exposure to language learning opportunities matters for language skills, since individuals residing in neighbourhoods with a higher supply of language centres are more likely to be able to speak and write in Catalan, the local language. The effect is quantitatively modest but very robust to falsification exercises and several sensitivity checks and is strongly heterogeneous in favour of younger individuals born in Catalonia with a low level of education. Second, we analyse whether accessibility to language centres also affects employment, working hours, employment sector, and occupation. The evidence regarding labour market outcomes is inconclusive, possibly due to the fact that the impact of geographical exposure on language skills is too small in size to improve performance in the local labour market.

Keywords: Local language training; Language skills; Bilingualism; Labour market outcomes. JEL classification: I38; J24; R23; Z13. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 41 pages
Date: 2022-05, Revised 2022-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lma and nep-ure
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