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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

    as
    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. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
    4. 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.
    5. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-345, May.
    6. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
    7. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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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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