November 2012

IZA DP No. 7019: English Deficiency and the Native-Immigrant Wage Gap

revised version published in: Economics Letters, 2013, 118 (1), 38-41

We focus on the effect of English deficiency on the native-immigrant wage gap for male employees in the UK using the first wave of the UK Household Longitudinal Survey. We show that the wage gap is robust to controls for age, region of residence, educational attainment and ethnicity. However, English as Additional Language (EAL) is capable of explaining virtually all the remaining wage gap between natives and immigrants. Using the interaction of language of country of birth and age-at-arrival as instrument, we find strong evidence of a causal effect of EAL on the native-immigrant wage gap.