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Disenfranchisement In Linguistically Diverse Societies: The Case Of The European Union

  • Victor Ginsburgh

    (ECARES, Free University of Brussels)

  • Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín

    (University of Alicante)

  • Shlomo Weber

    (Southern Methodist University, CORE, and Catholic University of Louvain)

We consider a linguistically diversified society and examine the notion of language disenfran-chisement when some individuals are denied the full access to documents and political process in their native tongues. To calculate the disenfranchisement indices we use the Dyen percentage cognate matrix of linguistic distances between Indo-European languages and apply survey and population data on language proficiency in the European Union. We then determine optimal sets of official languages that depend on society's sensitivity against disenfranchisement and comprehensiveness of the chosen language regime. We also discuss the language situation in the European Union after its last enlargement. (JEL: D70, O52, Z13) Copyright (c) 2005 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 3 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (06)
Pages: 946-965

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:3:y:2005:i:4:p:946-965
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  1. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Language disenfranchisement in the European Union," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5263, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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