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Learning foreign languages: Theoretical and empirical implications of the Selten and Pool model

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  • GINSBURGH, Victor
  • ORTUÑO-ORTÍN, Ignacio
  • WEBER, Shlomo

Abstract

In this paper we adopt the Selten-Pool [Selten, R., Pool, J., 1991. The distribution of foreign language skills as a game equilibrium. In: Selten, R. (Ed.), Game Equilibrium Models, vol. 4. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 64-84] framework of language acquisition based on "communicative benefits" derived from the ability to communicate with other speakers of an acquired language, and "learning costs" incurred by acquiring a foreign language. We show that, under some mild conditions, there exists a unique interior linguistic equilibrium. We then derive demand functions for foreign languages, that we estimate for English, French, German and Spanish in 13 European countries and demonstrate that the properties of these functions are consistent with our theoretical results.
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Suggested Citation

  • GINSBURGH, Victor & ORTUÑO-ORTÍN, Ignacio & WEBER, Shlomo, 2007. "Learning foreign languages: Theoretical and empirical implications of the Selten and Pool model," LIDAM Reprints CORE 2027, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:2027
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2006.10.005
    Note: In : Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 64, 337-347, 2007
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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. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-130, April.
    3. Barry R. Chiswick, 1998. "Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(2), pages 253-271.
    4. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
    5. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
    6. 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.
    7. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-345, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2015. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(4), pages 407-421, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Oh, Chang Hoon & Travis Selmier, W. & Lien, Donald, 2011. "International trade, foreign direct investment, and transaction costs in languages," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 732-735.
    4. Victor Ginsburgh & Jacques Melitz & Farid Toubal, 2017. "Foreign Language Learning and Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 320-361, May.
    5. Melitz, Jacques, 2014. "English as a global language," CEPR Discussion Papers 10102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Athanasiou, E. & Dey, S. & Valletta, G., 2012. "On sharing the benefits of communication," Research Memorandum 016, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    7. Wei Feng & Yanrui Wu & Yue Fu, 2021. "Dialect Diversity and Foreign Direct Investment in China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 29(2), pages 49-72, March.
    8. 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.
    9. Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón, 2015. "A Game-Theoreteic Analysis of Minority Language Use in Multilingual Societies," IKERLANAK Ikerlanak;2015-93, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
    10. Armstrong, Alex, 2015. "Equilibria and efficiency in bilingual labour markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 204-220.
    11. 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.
    12. Efthymios Athanasiou & Juan D. Moreno-Ternero & Shlomo Weber, 2015. "Language learning and communicative benefits," Working Papers 15.09, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    13. Melitz, Jacques, 2012. "A framework for analyzing language and welfare," CEPR Discussion Papers 9091, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Donald Lien & Melody Lo & David Bojanic, 2019. "Asymmetric effects of cultural institutes on trade and foreign direct investment," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(5), pages 1520-1553, May.
    15. Ku, Hyejin & Zussman, Asaf, 2010. "Lingua franca: The role of English in international trade," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 250-260, August.
    16. Paulo A.L.D. Nunes & Laura Onofri & Jasone Cenoz & Durk Gorter, 2008. "Language Diversity in Urban Landscapes: An econometric study," Working Papers 2008.40, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    17. Antonio Di Paolo & Aysit Tansel, 2015. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(4), pages 407-421, April.
    18. Lien, Donald & Oh, Chang Hoon & Selmier, W. Travis, 2012. "Confucius institute effects on China's trade and FDI: Isn't it delightful when folks afar study Hanyu?," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 147-155.
    19. Lien, Donald & Oh, Chang Hoon, 2014. "Determinants of the Confucius Institute establishment," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 437-441.
    20. Sperlich, Stefan & Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón, 2014. "The Economics of "Why is it so hard to save a threatened Language?"," IKERLANAK Ikerlanak;2014-77, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
    21. Selmier, W. Travis & Oh, Chang Hoon, 2012. "International business complexity and the internationalization of languages," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 189-200.
    22. 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.
    23. Victor Ginsburgh, 2008. "Multilingualism," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7296, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    24. Laura Onofri & Paulo A.L.D. Nunes & Jasone Cenoz & Durk Gorter, 2013. "Linguistic Diversity and Preferences: Econometric Evidence from European Cities," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, vol. 56(1), pages 39-60.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • 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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