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Immigrants' Language Skills: The Australian Experience

Barry Chiswick (), Yew Lee and Paul Miller
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Yew Lee: Department of Economics, The University of Western Australia

No 02-07, Economics Discussion / Working Papers from The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper is concerned with the determinants of English language proficiency (speaking, reading and writing) among immigrants. It presents a model of immigrant destination language acquisition based on economic incentives, exposure to the destination language, and efficiency in second language acquisition. A unique data set, the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia, is used to test the model. This survey had three waves, at about 6 months, 18 months and 3 1/2 years after immigration. The analyses are performed by wave, type of language skill and gender using probit analysis. Bivariate provit analysis is used across waves. The hypotheses are supported by the data. The bivariate probit analysis indicates a positive correlation in the unexplained component that declines with time between waves, indicating a regression tot he mean in English language proficiency.

Keywords: Immigrants; Language Skills; Longitudinal Survey; Australia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J15 J61 I29 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2002
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