The Effect of Language Ability on Chinese Immigrants’ Earning in Hong Kong

Chi Man Ng

Abstract


After the handover of Hong Kong sovereignty to China in 1997, the language importance gap between English and Putonghua in Hong Kong has been narrowing, even English language is remain an international language and being adopted in legal documents, but foreign investors cannot avoid speaking Putonghua when doing business with Chinese enterprises, these language importance changes provide a new discourse to human capital theorists.  In Hong Kong, natives are desire to be proficient in Putonghua and English while immigrants are eager to learn English and Cantonese, thus, investigating languages skills (Putonghua, English and Cantonese) returns yield a remarkable contribution to the existing immigrants assimilation literature. This paper employs language skills to understand a new assimilation process in Hong Kong and proves that Putonghua language skills are enhancing immigrants’ and natives’ earning, for industries which have better utilization of Putonghua language skills allow better return rate for immigrants, besides, it also shows the marginal effects of different languages on earnings are industry and occupation dependent.


Keywords


Assimilation, Human Capital Theory, Immigrant, Language Ability.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/ijbsr.v5i11.885

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