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Language Disenfranchisement in the European Union

Author

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  • VICTOR GINSBURGH
  • SHLOMO WEBER

Abstract

This article introduces the notion of language disenfranchisement which arises if the number of EU working languages is reduced and some EU citizens are denied the use of their own language for official purposes. We use data on language proficiency in the EU and show that, in spite of the widespread knowledge of English, the retention of French and German as working languages is essential to avoid a high degree of disenfranchisement of EU citizens. We also argue that, even though French is the second leading language within the EU, the recent enlargement could change that situation.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Language Disenfranchisement in the European Union," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 273-286, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jcmkts:v:43:y:2005:i:2:p:273-286
    DOI: 10.1111/j.0021-9886.2005.00555.x
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    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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