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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Returns to foreign language skills in a developing country: The case of Turkey
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://diposit.ub.edu/dspace/bitstream/2445/57829/1/IR13-019_DiPaolo.pdf
Foreign language skills represent a form of human capital that can be rewarded in the labor
market. Drawing on data from the Adult Education Survey of 2007, this is the first study
estimating returns to foreign language skills in Turkey. We contribute to the literature on
the economic value of language knowledge, with a special focus on a country characterized
by fast economic and social development. Although English is the most widely spoken
foreign language in Turkey, we initially consider the economic value of different foreign
languages among the employed males aged 25 to 65. We find positive and significant
returns to proficiency in English and Russian, which increase with the level of competence.
Knowledge of French and German also appears to be positively rewarded in the Turkish
labor market, although their economic value seems mostly linked to an increased likelihood
to hold specific occupations rather than increased earnings within occupations. Focusing on
English, we also explore the heterogeneity in returns to different levels of proficiency by
frequency of English use at work, birth-cohort, education, occupation and rural/urban
location. The results are also robust to the endogenous specification of English language

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