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Language training, language proficiency and earnings of immigrants in Norway

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Abstract:

This paper uses a simple probit model to determine the impact of language training on the language proficiency of Third World immigrant men in Norway. It also estimates the labour market returns to Norwegian language proficiency. The results show that immigrants who participate in language training programme are more likely to acquire speaking and reading proficiencies in Norwegian language than those who do not. Contrary to expectation, language proficiency has no significant effect on immigrants' earnings. A probable explanation may be that immigrants need Norwegian language proficiency to get into jobs in the Norwegian labour market. Once they are in employment, their wages are not necessarily determined by their proficiency in Norwegian. Consistent with the assimilation hypothesis, earlier waves of immigrants have higher earnings than do more recent waves, and part of the initial earnings deficit experienced by more recent immigrants can be attributed to language deficiency. There was no evidence of sample selection bias in the earnings equation.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036840010018630

Publication date: December 15, 2001

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