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Immigrant labour market outcomes: new insights from a lack of language proficiency in Italy

Pieroni, Luca and d'Agostino, Giorgio and Lanari, Donatella and Scarlato, Margherita (2022): Immigrant labour market outcomes: new insights from a lack of language proficiency in Italy.

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Abstract

In this paper, we examine how immigrants' proficiency in the Italian language affects their labour market performance using hitherto unexploited immigration survey published by the Italian Institute of Statistics. With respect to immigrants with good proficiency in the Italian language, our empirical findings suggest that weak language proficiency reduces employment by about 25-30 percentage points. Language proficiency in Italian also significantly affects the hourly wages of immigrants. The point estimates suggest an hourly wage gap of more than 30% between immigrants with good proficiency in the Italian language compared to those with weak proficiency, irrespective of gender. Robustness checks confirmed our estimates.

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