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Linguistic Distances and their Use in Economics

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  • Ginsburgh, Victor
  • Weber, Shlomo

Abstract

The paper offers an overview of the various approaches to compute linguistic distances (the lexicostatistic method, Levenshtein distances, distances based on language trees, phonetic distances, the ASJP project and distances based on learning scores) as well as distances between groups. It also briefly describes how distances directly affect economic outcomes such as international trade, migrations, language acquisition and earnings, translations. Finally, one can construct indices that take account (or not) of distances and how these indices are used by economists to measure their impact outcomes such as redistribution, the provision of public goods, growth, or corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • Ginsburgh, Victor & Weber, Shlomo, 2015. "Linguistic Distances and their Use in Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 10640, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10640
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fidrmuc, Jan & Ginsburgh, Victor & Weber, Shlomo, 2007. "Ever Closer Union or Babylonian Discord? The Official-language Problem in the European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 6367, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Victor Ginsburgh & Jacques Melitz & Farid Toubal, 2014. "Foreign Language Learning : An Econometric Analysis," Working Papers 2014-21, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    3. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross Section of Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1872-1911, August.
    5. Falck, Oliver & Heblich, Stephan & Lameli, Alfred & Südekum, Jens, 2012. "Dialects, cultural identity, and economic exchange," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 225-239.
    6. Hanson, Gordon & Xiang, Chong, 2011. "Trade barriers and trade flows with product heterogeneity: An application to US motion picture exports," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 14-26, January.
    7. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2012. "The political economy of linguistic cleavages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 322-338.
    8. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2011. "How Many Languages Do We Need? The Economics of Linguistic Diversity," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9481.
    9. Falck, Oliver & Heblich, Stephan & Lameli, Alfred & Südekum, Jens, 2012. "Dialects, cultural identity, and economic exchange," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 225-239.
    10. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yao, Yuxin, 2017. "Essays on economics of language and family economics," Other publications TiSEM 0093bc8e-e869-4f87-8ff8-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Ohinata, Asako & van Ours, Jan C. & Yao, Yuxin, 2016. "The Educational Consequences of Language Proficiency for Young Children," CEPR Discussion Papers 11183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Yao, Yuxin & Ohinata, Asako & van Ours, Jan, 2016. "The Education Consequences of Language Proficiency for Young Children," Discussion Paper 2016-009, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Yao, Yuxin & Ohinata, Asako & van Ours, Jan C., 2016. "The educational consequences of language proficiency for young children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-15.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    development; economic outcomes; growth; linguistic disenfranchisement; linguistic distances;

    JEL classification:

    • F6 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization
    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

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