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Productivity, Social Interaction and Communication

Author

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  • Gilles SAINT-PAUL

    (IDEI, Université des Sciences Sociales de Toulouse)

Abstract

In this paper, we study how, depending on the sociological and technological characteristics of the economy, a "unified" or, on the contrary, a stratified way of communicating may émerge. Communication takes place less efficiently in the stratified case, because people who spend différent languages cannot communicate with each other. The main results of the paper are as follows. First, the equilibrium degree of literacy is suboptimally low because of the "thin market externality" associated with the language. Second, social stratification generates linguistic stratification and the associated output and welfare losses due to communication failure. Third, because of the thin market externality, there is too much stratification. Fourth, specialized technologies are less vulnerable to stratification than flexible ones, or, equivalently, increased fiexibility may have adverse effects on output when society is stratified.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles SAINT-PAUL, 2002. "Productivity, Social Interaction and Communication," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 2002022, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvre:2002022
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    File URL: http://sites.uclouvain.be/econ/DP/REL/2002022.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul M, 1996. "Ethnic Networks and Language Proficiency among Immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(1), pages 19-35, February.
    3. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
    4. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
    5. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 881-894, October.
    6. Blume, Andreas, 2000. "Coordination and Learning with a Partial Language," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 1-36, November.
    7. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
    8. repec:mes:jeciss:v:16:y:1982:i:2:p:354-369 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pieter Serneels, 2002. "Explaining Non-Negative Duration Dependence Among the Unemployed," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-13, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economies of language; Productivity; Communication;

    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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