Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/80626
Authors: 
Isphording, Ingo Eduard
Year of Publication: 
2013
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Paper 7360
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.
Subjects: 
linguistic distance
literacy
human capital
immigrants
JEL: 
F22
J15
J24
J31
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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