Bonding and Bridging Social Capital: The Determinants of English Language Fluency and Its Effects on the Labour Market Outcome of International Students in Ireland


  • Zizhen Wang University College Dublin


This study investigates the extent to which social capital influences the English fluency ofinternational students in Ireland and how language skills affect their earnings in the Irish labour market upon graduation. Two different forms of social capital are identified: ‘Bonding’ refers to the connections within international students’ co-national groups; ‘Bridging’ is used in reference to the ties these students create with those beyond their national communities, such as with the host country’s locals or other international students. The main findings suggest that: (1) Bridging social capital with Irish people is found to have a significant positive effect on international students’ English fluency. (2) English fluency, bonding social capital with co-nationals, as well as bridging social capital with Irish are all found to have positive effects on graduates’ monthly salary after correcting for endogeneity. In closing, implications are discussed.