The impact of English-French bilingualism on wages in Canada

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University of New Brunswick


Although several studies have claimed to provide evidence of a wage premium for English-French bilingual Canadians, so far only one study by Christofides and Swidinsky (2010) has distinguished between the effects of language knowledge and language use on wages. This study addresses this gap by analyzing the impact of English-French bilingualism on wages in Canada using data from the 2011 National Household Survey. The results suggest that in Quebec, employers value bilingualism regardless of whether both languages are used at work, with wage premiums ranging from 4.4 to 33.4 percent depending on gender and language use. Outside of Quebec, once occupation and industry are controlled for, no evidence is found that a wage premium exists for bilingual men, however bilingual women appear to receive a 6.2 to 13.4 percent premium if they actually use both languages at work, depending on which of the two languages is used most often.