Seminario 24/09 – Santiago Budría (Universidad Antonio de Nebrija): Energy Poverty among Immigrants: Does Host Language Proficiency Matter?


  • Ponente: Santiago Budría (Universidad Antonio de Nebrija)
  • Fecha: 11/Jun/2024 - 13:00 horas
  • Lugar: Thinking Lab del Edificio Torretamarit (CIO) y online

This study uses the 2007-2020 waves of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to estimate the impact of English language proficiency on energy poverty among immigrants. The paper relies on six different energy poverty measures reflecting both objective (expenditure-based) and subjective (self-assessed) approaches and includes a multidimensional measure of energy poverty. The potential endogeneity of host language proficiency is controlled for using the immigrants’ age at arrival to Australia and the language spoken during childhood as a source of external variation. The paper gauges the robustness of the results to changes in the degree of instrument validity using a local-to-zero approach that considers local violations of the exclusion restriction. Additional sensitivity checks are conducted to factor out from the results potential differences in educational quality, individual background, parental socioeconomic status, and household financial stress between immigrants with and without an English-speaking background. The baseline estimates indicate that the probability of being energy poor decreases by about 9.5 percentage points if the immigrant is proficient. We examine several potential pathways for this effect and find that almost fifty percent of the central estimate is through household (not individual) income and better access to social assistance programmes.

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