The Effects of Language Skills on Immigrant Employment and Wages in Italy

Donatella Lanari , University of Perugia
Luca Pieroni, University of Perugia
Giorgio d'Agostino, University Rome III

In this paper, we examine how the Italian language problems of immigrants affect their labour market performance using two hitherto unexploited immigration surveys recently published by the Italian Institute of Statistics. With respect to immigrants with good Italian proficiency, our empirical findings suggest that language problems reduce the employment rate by about 30%, and point estimates are even larger when evaluating job discrimination. Italian language skills also significantly affect the wages of immigrants. The point estimates suggest a wage gap of about 20% between immigrants with Italian proficiency and those without Italian proficiency, a magnitude that increases to 25% for male immigrants. Robustness checks confirmed our estimates.

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 Presented in Session 43. Perspectives of Immigration and Their Integration