This paper estimates the job market benefits of bilingualism in Costa Rica for the 2005-2017 period. Our estimates show that for all wage earners, English speakers have a monthly wage that is 20.6% higher than their non-English-speaking counterparts. While for private sector workers, the premium estimated is 28.4%. Furthermore, this wage premium does not have a declining trend overtime, as one would expect in competitive labor markets. This suggests that the Costa Rican labor market has not automatically adjusted to the relative scarcity of English speaking labor. In addition, we found that English speakers work less hours per week, have a higher chance of getting paid vacations, paid sick leave and a thirteenth wage at the end of the year with respect to non-English speakers.
Authors: Suráyabi Ramírez y Alejandro Abarca