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The measurement of the value of a language

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  • Alcalde-Unzu, Jorge
  • Moreno-Ternero, Juan D.
  • Weber, Shlomo

Abstract

We address the problem of assessing the value of a language. We consider a stylized model of multilingual societies in which we introduce axioms formalizing the principles of impartiality, monotonicity, invariance and consistency. We show that the combination of these axioms characterizes a family of communicative benefit functions which assign a value to each language in the society. The functions within the family involve a two-step procedure. First, they identify the groups of agents that can communicate in each language. Second, each group is assigned an aggregate (size-dependent) value, which is evenly divided among the languages in which the group can communicate. Our novel approach could be useful in a wide range of empirical applications and policy decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alcalde-Unzu, Jorge & Moreno-Ternero, Juan D. & Weber, Shlomo, 2022. "The measurement of the value of a language," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 203(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:203:y:2022:i:c:s0022053122000588
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2022.105468
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    2. Victor Ginsburgh & Juan D. Moreno-Ternero, 2022. "The Eurovision Song Contest: Voting Rules, Biases and Rationality," Working Papers ECARES 2022-11, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Value of a language; Communicative benefits; Measure; Axioms; Characterization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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