a macro-level analysis of language learning and migration
This article investigates the macro-level drivers of adult-age language learning with a focus on migration based on a new dataset on German language learning in 77 countries (including Germany) for 1992-2006. Fixed-effects regressions show that language learning abroad is strongly associated with immigration from countries of the European Union and the Schengen Area whose citizens enjoy free access to Germany, while language learning in Germany is strongly associated with immigration from countries with restricted access. The different degrees of uncertainty about access to Germany seem to be of importance for preparatory language learning. To shed light on country heterogeneities, we substitute the location fixed effects with a vector of country characteristics, which include several distance measures among others, and we estimate a random-effects model. Last, we provide some tentative arguments in favour of a causal interpretation. The main results related to the role of uncertainty are mostly unaffected. The Skilled Immigration Act from 2020 removes this uncertainty with potential positive effects on preparatory language learning and economic and social integration.