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Consequences of Linguistic Distance for Economic Growth


  • Erkan Gören


This paper advances a new country‐level measure of ethno‐linguistic diversity, making use of Greenberg's definition of diversity by synthesizing information on the share of different ethno‐linguistic groups in a country's population and, more importantly, information on intergroup linguistic distances derived from a recently developed lexicostatistical approach. I show that this measure captures ethno‐linguistic diversity at lower levels of linguistic aggregation. However, unlike the commonly used phylogenetic language tree approach, I found that these distance‐weighted diversity measures continue to have a strong negative statistical association with economic growth that is not sensitive to the underlying resemblance function between ethno‐linguistic groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Erkan Gören, 2018. "Consequences of Linguistic Distance for Economic Growth," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(3), pages 625-658, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:80:y:2018:i:3:p:625-658

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