Productivity, Social Interaction and Communication
AbstractIn this paper, we study how, depending on the sociological and technological characteristics of the economy, a "unified" or, on the contrary, a stratified way of communicating may émerge. Communication takes place less efficiently in the stratified case, because people who spend différent languages cannot communicate with each other. The main results of the paper are as follows. First, the equilibrium degree of literacy is suboptimally low because of the "thin market externality" associated with the language. Second, social stratification generates linguistic stratification and the associated output and welfare losses due to communication failure. Third, because of the thin market externality, there is too much stratification. Fourth, specialized technologies are less vulnerable to stratification than flexible ones, or, equivalently, increased fiexibility may have adverse effects on output when society is stratified.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) with number 2002022.
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2002
Date of revision:
Economies of language; Productivity; Communication;
Other versions of this item:
- Gilles Saint-Paul, 2002. "Productivity, Social Interaction and Communication," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 68(1), pages 111-123.
- D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- O33 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
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