Educational selectivity and language acquisition among recently arrived immigrants


This article investigates destination language proficiency upon arrival and subsequent proficiency growth among recently arrived immigrants in Germany, Great Britain, and Ireland. We introduce selectivity considerations to a model of language acquisition, arguing that positively selected individuals should display higher levels of language skills upon arrival and faster growth in destination language proficiency thereafter. The results show that upon arrival, positively selected immigrants are less proficient, holding absolute levels of educational attainment constant. In terms of language proficiency growth, however, our longitudinal findings suggest that positively selected immigrants, net of differences in pre-migration investments, post-migration exposure, and incentives, acquire the destination language faster

International Migration Review