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Learning foreign languages: Theoretical and empirical implications of the Selten and Pool model

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  • Ginsburgh, Victor
  • Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio
  • Weber, Shlomo

Abstract

In this paper we adopt the Selten-Pool [Selten, R., Pool, J., 1991. The distribution of foreign language skills as a game equilibrium. In: Selten, R. (Ed.), Game Equilibrium Models, vol. 4. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 64-84] framework of language acquisition based on "communicative benefits" derived from the ability to communicate with other speakers of an acquired language, and "learning costs" incurred by acquiring a foreign language. We show that, under some mild conditions, there exists a unique interior linguistic equilibrium. We then derive demand functions for foreign languages, that we estimate for English, French, German and Spanish in 13 European countries and demonstrate that the properties of these functions are consistent with our theoretical results.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 64 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3-4 ()
Pages: 337-347

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:64:y:2007:i:3-4:p:337-347

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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Keywords: Languages Communicative benefits Learning costs Linguistic distances Estimation of demand functions for languages European Union;

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References

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  1. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Language disenfranchisement in the European Union," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5263, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. GINSBURGH, Victor & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignatio & WEBER, Shlomo, . "Disenfranchisement in linguistically diverse societies: the case of the European Union," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1773, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-30, April.
  4. Barry R. Chiswick, 1998. "Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 253-271.
  5. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-45, May.
  7. Lang, Kevin, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-82, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2013. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Working Papers XREAP2013-07, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Oct 2013.
  2. Jacques Mélitz, 2012. "A Framework for Analyzing Language and Welfare," Working Papers 2012-14, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  3. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2007. "La connaissance des langues en Belgique," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7284, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Jean Jaskold Gabszewicz & Victor Ginsburgh & Didier Laussel & Shlomo Weber, 2010. "Acquiring foreign languages: a two-sided market approach," Working Papers ECARES 2010_007, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Paulo A.L.D. Nunes & Laura Onofri & Jasone Cenoz & Durk Gorter, 2008. "Language Diversity in Urban Landscapes: An econometric study," Working Papers 2008.40, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Lien, Donald & Oh, Chang Hoon & Selmier, W. Travis, 2012. "Confucius institute effects on China's trade and FDI: Isn't it delightful when folks afar study Hanyu?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 147-155.
  7. Selmier, W. Travis & Oh, Chang Hoon, 2012. "International business complexity and the internationalization of languages," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 189-200.
  8. Sperlich, Stefan & Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón, 2014. "The Economics of "Why is it so hard to save a threatened Language?"," IKERLANAK Ikerlanak;2014-77, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
  9. Efthymios Athanasiou & Santanu Dey & Giacomo Valleta, 2012. "On Sharing the Benefits of Communication," Working Papers 2012.41, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. Oh, Chang Hoon & Travis Selmier, W. & Lien, Donald, 2011. "International trade, foreign direct investment, and transaction costs in languages," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 732-735.
  11. Ku, Hyejin & Zussman, Asaf, 2010. "Lingua franca: The role of English in international trade," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 250-260, August.

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