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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Return to English Fluency Among Race and Education


Language fluency is defined as an important factor of human capital for immigrant workers. The fluency premium (FP) is the incremental payment for English proficiency between similar workers. Using data from the American Community Survey, this paper investigates the overall English fluency premium for immigrant workers and the difference in the return to English fluency among 4 major race groups while controlling for counties, jobs, and year fixed effects It is determined with OLS that generally, the FP is about 14.5% for all immigrants and around 5% for immigrants who arrived before their 18th birthday. After applying IV, the FP is measured at 23.5%. There are also significant differences in the FP in both samples among the 4 major race groups and skill levels.

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