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Linguistic Diversity and Redistribution

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  • Klaus Desmet

    ()
    (Universidad Carlos III, Getafe (Madrid), Spain, and CEPR)

  • Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin

    ()
    (Universidad Carlos III, Getafe (Madrid), Spain)

  • Shlomo Weber

    ()
    (Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA, CORE, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and CEPR)

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of linguistic diversity on redistribution in a broad cross-section of countries. We use the notion of "linguistic distances" and show that the commonly used fractionalization index, which ignores linguistic distances, yields insignificant results. However, once distances between languages are accounted for, linguistic diversity has both a statistically and economically significant effect on redistribution. With an average level of redistribution of 9.5% of GDP in our data set, an increase by one standard deviation in the degree of diversity lowers redistribution by approximately one percentage point. We also demonstrate that other measures, such as polarization and peripheral heterogeneity, provide similar results when linguistic distances are incorporated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia in its series Working Papers with number 004-08.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tbs:wpaper:08-004

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Related research

Keywords: nation formation; genetic diversity; cultural heterogeneity; secession; uniï¬cation; European Union;

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References

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  1. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2002. "Why ethnic fractionalization? Polarization, ethnic conflict and growth," Economics Working Papers 660, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2002.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 5630, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2004. "Community Composition and Collective Action: Analyzing Initial Mail Response to the 2000 Census," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 303-312, February.
  5. Jos� G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
  6. Lind, Jo Thori, 2007. "Fractionalization and the size of government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 51-76, February.
  7. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict," CEP Discussion Papers dp0732, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
  9. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  10. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto, 1998. "Openness, Country Size and Government," Scholarly Articles 4553014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 1999. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," JCPR Working Papers 61, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  12. Fearon, James D, 2003. " Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
  13. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-51, July.
  14. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Weber, Shlomo, 2005. "Peripheral Diversity and Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 5112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
  16. Ginsburgh, Victor & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Weber, Shlomo, 2005. "Disenfranchisement in Linguistically Diverse Societies: The Case of the European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 4875, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Woojin Lee & John E. Roemer, 2004. "Racism and Redistribution in the United States: A Solution to the Problem of American Exceptionalism," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1462, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  18. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
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