Assimilation in Multilingual Cities

Ortega, J. & Verdugo, G. (2015). Assimilation in Multilingual Cities. Journal of Population Economics, 28(3), pp. 785-815. doi: 10.1007/s00148-015-0549-9

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Abstract

We characterise how the assimilation patterns of minorities into the strong and the weak language differ in a situation of asymmetric bilingualism. Using large variations in language composition in Canadian cities from the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, we show that the differences in the knowledge of English by immigrant allophones (i.e. the immigrants with a mother tongue other than English and French) in English-majority cities are mainly due to sorting across cities. Instead, in French-majority cities, learning plays an important role in explaining differences in knowledge of French. In addition, the presence of large anglophone minorities deters much more the assimilation into French than the presence of francophone minorities deters the assimilation into English. Finally, we find that language distance plays a much more important role in explaining assimilation into French, and that assimilation into French is much more sensitive to individual characteristics than assimilation into English. Some of these asymmetric assimilation patterns extend to anglophone and francophone immigrants, but no evidence of learning is found in this case.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00148-015-0549-9
Uncontrolled Keywords: immigration, assimilation, language policies, minorities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Economics
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/5908

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