The Economic Value of Reciprocal Bilingualism
AbstractSome bilingual societies exhibit a distribution of language skills that can- not be explained by economic theories that portray languages as pure communication devices. Such distribution of skills are typically the result of public policies that promote bilingualism among members of both speech communities (reciprocal bilingualism). In this paper I argue that these policies are likely to increase social welfare by diminishing economic and social segmentation between the two communities. However, these gains tend to be unequally distributed over the two communities. As a result, in a large range of circumstances these policies might not draw sufficient 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 InfoPaper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 713.
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
bilingualism; segmentation; linguistic preferences; network externalities;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
- Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
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