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Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits

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  • Gabszewicz, Jean
  • Ginsburgh, Victor
  • Weber, Shlomo

Abstract

We examine patterns of acquiring non-native languages in a model with two languages and two populations with heterogeneous learning skills, where every individual faces a binary choice of learning the foreign language or refraining from doing so. We show that both interior and corner linguistic equilibria can emerge in our framework, and that the fraction of learners of the foreign language is higher in the country with a higher gross cost adjusted communicative benefit. It turns out that this observation is consistent with the data on language proficiency in bilingual countries such as Belgium and Canada. We also point out that linguistic equilibria can exhibit insufficient learning which opens the door for government policies that are beneficial for both populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabszewicz, Jean & Ginsburgh, Victor & Weber, Shlomo, 2008. "Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits," Knowledge, Technology, Human Capital Working Papers 6380, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:feemkt:6380
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.6380
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Victor Ginsburgh & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Disenfranchisement In Linguistically Diverse Societies: The Case Of The European Union," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 946-965, June.
    2. Pool, Jonathan, 1991. "The Official Language Problem," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 85(2), pages 495-514, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Shy,Oz, 2001. "The Economics of Network Industries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521805001, May.
    5. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-345, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2020. "The Economics of Language," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(2), pages 348-404, June.
    2. Melitz, Jacques, 2014. "English as a global language," CEPR Discussion Papers 10102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Bossert, Walter & D’Ambrosio, Conchita & Weber, Shlomo, 2022. "Distance-based social index numbers: A unifying approach," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    4. 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).
    5. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2007. "La connaissance des langues en Belgique," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 31-43.
    6. Armstrong, Alex, 2015. "Equilibria and efficiency in bilingual labour markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 204-220.
    7. Jan Fidrmuc, 2012. "The Economics of Multilingualism in the EU," Chapters, in: Thomas Eger & Hans-Bernd Schäfer (ed.), Research Handbook on the Economics of European Union Law, chapter 15, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. repec:edn:sirdps:433 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Melitz, Jacques, 2012. "A framework for analyzing language and welfare," CEPR Discussion Papers 9091, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Dimitrov, Dinko & Lazarova, Emiliya, 2011. "Two-sided coalitional matchings," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 46-54, July.
    11. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Neogi, Ranajoy Guha, 2017. "Decolonization, Property Rights and Language Conflicts," IZA Discussion Papers 10998, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Lien, Donald, 2013. "Financial effects of the Confucius Institute on Chinese language acquisition: Isn’t it delightful that friends come from afar to teach you Hanyu?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 87-100.
    13. Zhijun Wu, 2020. "Why multilingual, and how to keep it—An evolutionary dynamics perspective," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(11), pages 1-24, November.
    14. Efthymios Athanasiou & Santanu Dey & Giacomo Valletta, 2016. "Groves mechanisms and communication externalities," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 20(1), pages 1-37, March.
    15. Arthur Blouin & Julian Dyer, 2021. "How Cultures Converge: An Empirical Investigation of Trade and Linguistic Exchange," Working Papers tecipa-691, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    16. Jean Jaskold Gabszewicz & Victor Ginsburgh & Didier Laussel & Shlomo Weber, 2010. "Acquiring foreign languages: a two-sided market approach," Working Papers ECARES 2010_007, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    17. Toulemonde, Eric, 2013. "A welfare analysis of the principle of mutual recognition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1-16.
    18. Mariko Nakagawa & Shonosuke Sugasawa, 2022. "Linguistic distance and economic development: A cross‐country analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 793-834, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor and Human Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • 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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