The English and Russian Language Proficiency Premium in the post-Maidan Ukraine – an Analysis of Web Survey Data
Published: February 2020
Keywords: Maidan, earnings differences, ethnic premium, foreign language skills, Ukraine
JEL classification: J15, J70, J82
The Maidan uprising and the successive fall of president Yanukovych has been a subject of substantial scholarly attention. Nonetheless, the focus has been largely on political aspects of these events, which the economic implications have not been tackled nearly to the same extent. This study aims to contribute to filling this gap by analyzing the post-Maidan changes to the Russian language earnings premium in the country. Past research has identified sizable advantage of earnings enjoyed by Russian language speakers over Ukrainian language speakers. Meanwhile, the literature on Maidan suggests, that the upheaval has strengthened Ukrainian speaking, pro-Western forces in the society over the interests rooted in the Russian speaking community and thus is could be expected that this premium could have disappeared. Our analysis, nonetheless, shows that it remains present. Additionally, we test the effect of proficiency in English, the main commerce language of the West, to see whether the proWestern orientation of the new Ukrainian government generated effect a similar effect to the Russian language premium. However, once we control for characteristics of the respondent, we found no strong evidence of such an effect.