No Entiendo: The Effects of Bilingualism on Hispanic Earnings

Cortina, Jerónimo; de la Garza, Rodolfo; Pinto, Pablo M.

This paper examines whether the ability to communicate in English and Spanish is rewarded in labor markets. Using data from the 2000 U.S. Census we find that among Hispanics, earnings are higher as the ability to speak English increases. We also find that bilingualism, is associated with higher wages reversing the negative effect found in earlier studies. The reversal could be explained by increasing immigration, and from economic integration with Latin America. Our results also show that bilingualism is negatively correlated with wages among different occupational categories and sectors, but particularly among managers and those employed in the public sector.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University
Published Here
March 29, 2011