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Economics of Literary Translation. A Simple Theory and Evidence

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  • Ginsburgh, Victor
  • Weber, Shlomo
  • Weyers, Sheila

Abstract

Books are an important factor of cultural transmission, but need, in most cases, to be translated. According to some authors, this may lead to a form of cultural domination of English. The population speaking English as a first language is, with the exception of Mandarin, the largest in the world. It is therefore not surprising that English produces more fiction (and much more scientific literature, as scientists from all countries write in English with increasing frequency) than any other language. We develop a theoretical model of translation, which is estimated on the basis of UNESCO translation data. We show that translations from English are dominated by translations from other languages, including Scandinavian ones and French.

Suggested Citation

  • Ginsburgh, Victor & Weber, Shlomo & Weyers, Sheila, 2008. "Economics of Literary Translation. A Simple Theory and Evidence," Knowledge, Technology, Human Capital Working Papers 6379, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:feemkt:6379
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.6379
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    1. A S Fotheringham, 1984. "Spatial Flows and Spatial Patterns," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 16(4), pages 529-543, April.
    2. Canoy, Marcel & van Ours, Jan C. & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2006. "The Economics of Books," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, in: V.A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 721-761, Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Caminal, Ramon, 2010. "Markets and linguistic diversity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 774-790, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies;

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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