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Markets and linguistic diversity

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  • Caminal, Ramon

Abstract

Producers of cultural goods and media products can only make their specific contents available to their audiences and readerships through a particular language. The choice of language is a trivial decision if consumers are monolingual. However, the fraction of bilingual consumers is high in some areas and rising everywhere because of the rapid expansion of English as a second language. In this paper I argue that, independently of the gains associated with the use of a lingua franca, the very existence of bilingual consumers may seriously bias market outcomes against minority languages. In particular, I show that the level of linguistic diversity determined by profit maximizing firms tends to be inefficiently low, except when and where the cost of producing a second linguistic version becomes sufficiently low. Thus, the model provides an efficiency argument supporting policies that protect minority languages in these markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Caminal, Ramon, 2009. "Markets and linguistic diversity," CEPR Discussion Papers 7587, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7587
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ginsburgh, Victor & Weber, Shlomo & Weyers, Sheila, 2007. "Economics of Literary Translation: A Simple Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6432, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    7. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
    8. Peitz, Martin & Valletti, Tommaso M., 2008. "Content and advertising in the media: Pay-tv versus free-to-air," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 949-965, July.
    9. Melitz, Jacques, 2007. "The impact of English dominance on literature and welfare," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 193-215, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ramon Caminal & Antonio Di Paolo, 2015. "Your Language or Mine?," Working Papers 852, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Emilie Dargaud & Carlo Reggiani, 2015. "On The Price Effects Of Horizontal Mergers: A Theoretical Interpretation," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 236-255, July.
    3. Carlo Reggiani, 2014. "Spatial Price Discrimination in the Spokes Model," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 628-649, September.
    4. Ramon Caminal, 2013. "The economic value of reciprocal bilingualism," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 933.13, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    5. Carlo Reggiani, "undated". "Optimal Differentiation and Spatial Competition: The Spokes Model with Product Delivery," Discussion Papers 09/13, Department of Economics, University of York.
    6. Yongmin Chen & Marius Schwartz, 2016. "Churn Versus Diversion in Antitrust: An Illustrative Model," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(332), pages 564-583, October.
    7. Yongmin Chen & Xinyu Hua, 2017. "Competition, Product Safety, and Product Liability," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 237-267.
    8. Yongmin Chen & Marius Schwartz, 2015. "Churn vs. Diversion: An Illustrative Model," Working Papers gueconwpa~15-15-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    9. Barañano Mentxaka, Ilaski & Kovarik, Jaromir & Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón, 2014. "Experimental Economics Meets Language Choice," IKERLANAK Ikerlanak;2014-82, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    language; product variety; translation;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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