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Disadvantages of Linguistic Origin: Evidence from Immigrant Literacy Scores

Ingo Isphording ()

No 7360, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: This study quantifies the disadvantage in the formation of literacy skills of immigrants that arises from the linguistic distance between mother tongue and host country language. Combining unique cross-country data on literacy scores with information on the linguistic distance between languages, gaps in literacy test scores are estimated. Linguistically distant immigrants face significant initial disadvantages of linguistic origin that exceed existing differentials across wage distributions and between employed and unemployed subpopulations. The importance of the linguistic origin increases with the age at migration, confirming the linguistic Critical Period hypothesis. Assimilation in literacy scores is moderate and does not offset the initial disadvantage.

Keywords: linguistic distance; literacy; human capital; immigrants (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J15 J24 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 24 pages
Date: 2013-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mig
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4) Track citations by RSS feed

Published - shortened version published in: Economics Letters, 2014, 123 (2) 236–239

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Related works:
Journal Article: Disadvantages of linguistic origin—Evidence from immigrant literacy scores (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Disadvantages of Linguistic Origin – Evidence from Immigrant Literacy Scores (2013) Downloads
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