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Native language, spoken language, translation and trade

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  • Jacques Melitz
  • Farid Toubal

Abstract

We construct new series for common native language and common spoken language for 195 countries, which we use together with series for common official language and linguistic proximity in order to draw inferences about (1) the aggregate impact of all linguistic factors on bilateral trade, (2) whether the linguistic influences come from ethnicity and trust or ease of communication, and (3) in so far they come from ease of communication, to what extent translation and interpreters play a role. The results show that the impact of linguistic factors, all together, is at least twice as great as the usual dummy variable for common language, resting on official language, would say. In addition, ease of communication is far more important than ethnicity and trust. Further, so far as ease of communication is at work, translation and interpreters are extremely important. Finally, ethnicity and trust come into play largely because of immigrants and their influence is otherwise difficult to detect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEPII research center in its series Working Papers with number 2012-17.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cii:cepidt:2012-17

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Keywords: Language; Bilateral Trade; Gravity Models;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jan Hanousek & Evžen Kočenda, 2013. "Factors of trade in Europe," Working Papers 333, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and South-East European Studies).
  2. Marina Murat, 2013. "Education ties and investments abroad. Empirical evidence from the US and UK," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 091, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  3. Egger, Peter H. & Lassmann, Andrea, 2012. "The language effect in international trade: A meta-analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 221-224.
  4. Mariya Aleksynska & Giovanni Peri, 2011. "Isolating the Network Effect of Immigrants on Trade," Working Papers 2011-26, CEPII research center.

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