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Language skills, the labour market, and socioeconomic integration

  • Michele GazzolaEmail author
  • Bengt-Arne Wickström
  • Torsten Templin

The study of the relationship between individuals’ language skills and outcomes on the labour market is a classic theme in language economics. According to the overview of Gazzola et al. (2016), there are 153 papers dealing with this issue out of some 500 publications in language economics reviewed in 2016, making up roughly one third of the existing references in the field. Economists have focused on two central labour-market outcomes, that is, individual’s income and employment. The former has been operationalised in terms of earning differentials. The question, therefore, is whether certain language skills are associated with a positive or negative impact on an individual's labour income with respect to other individuals who share similar personal and social characteristics, such as the level of education and marital status, but differ in terms of their linguistic repertoire. The latter variable has been operationalised in terms of occupational status, that is, whether individuals...



The special issue is a result of the colloquium “Language Skills for Economic and Social Inclusion” organised the 12–13 October 2017 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, by the research group “Economics and Languages”. The colloquium aimed at exploring the relationship between individual language skills and people’s integration in the economy and in society with a focus on the labour market. We gratefully acknowledge the support from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (Project “Mobility and Inclusion in a Multilingual Europe,” MIME—Grant Agreement 613344), the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (ITL project - CSO2015-64247-P), Andrássy-Universität Budapest, the Institute for Ethnic Studies in Ljubljana, and the faculty of Social and Human Sciences at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. All articles contained in this special issue have been anonymously evaluated by at least two reviewers, including the contribution co-authored by one of the editors. The work of the reviewers is gratefully acknowledged.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Applied Social and Policy SciencesUlster UniversityJordanstownUK
  2. 2.Andrássy-Universität BudapestBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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