Title: The role of English language proficiency on immigrants' health and economic integration in the USA

Authors: Ibrahim Niankara

Addresses: College of Business, Al Ain University, P.O. Box: 112612, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abstract: This study reports on the role of English language proficiency (ELP) in immigrants' health and economic integration in the USA. Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) estimation of a mixed bivariate ordered probit specification of annual earnings and medical care spending is conducted using a representative sample of immigrant families' data from the 2015-2017 US National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS). The results reveal that annually, limited ELP has an increasingly negative impact on immigrants' propensity to earn income (-$44.83, -$50.66 and -$56.97), while simultaneously positively impacting at a decreasing rate their propensity to spend on medical care ($8.09, $6.09 and $4.32). Furthermore, a positive and significant 7.2% correlation coefficient is found between annual earnings and medical care spending propensities, suggesting that the income effect of higher earnings from increased ELP outweighs the substitution effect leading to higher health consciousness and preventive care spending. Thus, policies aimed at raising immigrants' families ELP in the USA would not only contribute to their effective socio-economic integration, but also strengthen the US workforce and economy in the long run.

Keywords: annual earnings; Bayesian analysis; cultural integration; economic integration; English proficiency; immigrants; MCMC; Markov chain Monte Carlo; medical care; USA.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEBR.2020.110445

International Journal of Economics and Business Research, 2020 Vol.20 No.3, pp.255 - 287

Received: 04 Sep 2019
Accepted: 04 Apr 2020

Published online: 05 Oct 2020 *

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