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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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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -2027.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-2027

Note: In : Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 64, 337-347, 2007
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References

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  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. GINSBURGH, Victor & WEBER, Shlomo, . "Language disenfranchisement in the European Union," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1831, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
  5. 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.
  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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Cited by:
  1. Jacques, Mélitz, 2013. "A Framework for Analyzing Language and Welfare," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-21, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  2. Athanasiou Efthymios & Dey Santanu & Valletta Giacomo, 2012. "On Sharing the Benefits of Communication," Research Memorandum 016, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  3. 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.
  4. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2013. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1322, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  5. Selmier, W. Travis & Oh, Chang Hoon, 2012. "International business complexity and the internationalization of languages," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 189-200.
  6. 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.
  7. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2007. "La connaissance des langues en Belgique," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5265, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Efthymios Athanasiou & Santanu Dey & Giacomo Valleta, 2012. "On Sharing the Benefits of Communication," Working Papers 2012.41, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  12. 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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