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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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    Cited by:

    1. Carlo Reggiani, 2014. "Spatial Price Discrimination in the Spokes Model," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 628-649, September.
    2. 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).
    3. 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.
    4. Yongmin Chen & Marius Schwartz, 2015. "Churn vs. Diversion: An Illustrative Model," Working Papers gueconwpa~15-15-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    5. Ramon Caminal & Antonio Di Paolo, 2015. "Your language or mine?," Working Papers XREAP2015-05, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Nov 2015.
    6. Ramon Caminal & Antonio Di Paolo, 2019. "Your Language Or Mine? The Noncommunicative Benefits Of Language Skills," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 57(1), pages 726-750, January.
    7. Begoña Casino & Lluís M. Granero, 2021. "Green products, market structure, and welfare," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 134(2), pages 103-125, October.
    8. Carlo Reggiani, "undated". "Optimal Differentiation and Spatial Competition: The Spokes Model with Product Delivery," Discussion Papers 09/13, Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. 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.
    10. Yongmin Chen & Xinyu Hua, 2017. "Competition, Product Safety, and Product Liability," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 237-267.
    11. Barañano Mentxaka, Ilaski & Kovarik, Jaromir & Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón, 2014. "Experimental Economics Meets Language Choice," IKERLANAK info:eu-repo/grantAgreeme, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    language; product variety; translation;
    All these keywords.

    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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