Languages in the EU: The Quest for Equality and Its Cost
AbstractThe European Union has recently expanded from 15 to 25 countries. In line with this enlargement, the list of official EU languages has grown from 11 to 20. Currently, the EU extends equal treatment to all member countries’ official languages by providing translations for documents and interpreting services for meetings and sessions of the European Parliament. This, however, is costly, especially when recognizing that many Europeans speak one of the procedural languages of the EU - English, French or German - either as their native language or as a foreign language. We compute disenfranchisement rates that would result from using only the three procedural languages for all EU business, and marginal costs per disenfranchised person associated with providing translations and interpreting into the remaining 17 languages. The marginal costs are shown to vary substantially across the different languages, raising important questions about the economic efficiency of equal treatment for all languages. We argue that an efficient solution would be to decentralize the provision of translations.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4795.
Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
- O52 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-06-14 (All new papers)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Aurélien Portuese, 2012. "Law and economics of the European multilingualism," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 279-325, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.