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The economic value of reciprocal bilingualism

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  • Ramon Caminal

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    Abstract

    Some bilingual societies exhibit a distribution of language skills that can- not be explained by economic theories that portray languages as pure commu- nication devices. Such distribution of skills are typically the result of public policies that promote bilingualism among members of both speech commu- nities (reciprocal bilingualism). In this paper I argue that these policies are likely to increase social welfare by diminishing economic and social segmenta- tion between the two communities. However, these gains tend to be unequally distributed over the two communities. As a result, in a large range of circum- stances these policies might not draw su¢ cient support. The model is built upon the communicative value of languages, but also emphasizes the role of linguistic preferences in the behavior of bilingual individuals..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 933.13.

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    Length: 34
    Date of creation: 13 Sep 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:933.13

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    Related research

    Keywords: bilingualism; segmentation; linguistic preferences; network externalities;

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    1. Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón & Iriberri, Nagore, 2010. "Minority Language and the Stability of Bilingual Equilibria," IKERLANAK 2011-45, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
    2. Sílvio Rendon, 2003. "The Catalan Premium: Language And Employment In Catalonia," Economics Working Papers we033410, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
    3. Ramon Caminal, 2009. "Markets and linguistic diversity," Working Papers 396, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    4. S. J. Drinkwater & N. C. O'Leary, 1997. "Unemployment in Wales: Does Language Matter?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 583-591.
    5. Judith Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2007. "Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill," Working Papers 07-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Krishna Patel & Francis Vella, 2013. "Immigrant Networks and Their Implications for Occupational Choice and Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1249-1277, October.
    7. Antonio Di Paolo & Josep Lluís Raymond, 2010. "Language knowledge and earnings in Catalonia," Working Papers XREAP2010-07, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jul 2010.
    8. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-45, May.
    9. Javier Ortega & Thomas P. Tangerås, 2008. "Unilingual Versus Bilingual Education: A Political Economy Analysis," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1078-1108, 09.
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