English Proficiency and Social Assimilation Among Immigrants: An Instumental-Variables Approach (Working Paper #149)

Hoyt Bleakley, University of Chicago

Abstract: Using 2000 Census microdata on childhood immigrants, we relate family-formation variables to their age at arrival in the United States, and in particular whether that age fell within the “critical period” of language acquisition. We interpret the observed differences as an effect of English-language skills and construct an instrumental variable for English-language proficiency. Two-stageleast-squares estimates suggest that English proficiency raises the probabilities of marrying a native, being divorced, or having a high-earning and/or more educated spouse, and reduces the number of children.

Working Paper #149 »