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Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits

Author

Listed:
  • Shlomo Weber

    (University Dallas)

  • Jean Gabszewicz

    (CORE, Universitè Catholique de Louvain)

  • Victor Ginsburgh

    (ECARES, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium and CORE, Universite Catholique de Louvain)

Abstract

We examine patterns of acquiring non-native languages in a model with two languages and two populations with heterogeneous learning skills, where every individual faces a binary choice of learning the foreign language or refraining from doing so. We show that both interior and corner linguistic equilibria can emerge in our framework, and that the fraction of learners of the foreign language is higher in the country with a higher gross cost adjusted communicative benefit. It turns out that this observation is consistent with the data on language proficiency in bilingual countries such as Belgium and Canada. We also point out that linguistic equilibria can exhibit insufficient learning which opens the door for government policies that are beneficial for both populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Shlomo Weber & Jean Gabszewicz & Victor Ginsburgh, 2008. "Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits," Working Papers 2008.17, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2008.17
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-345, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Shy,Oz, 2001. "The Economics of Network Industries," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521805001, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Efthymios Athanasiou & Santanu Dey & Giacomo Valletta, 2016. "Groves mechanisms and communication externalities," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 20(1), pages 1-37, March.
    2. Melitz, Jacques, 2014. "English as a global language," CEPR Discussion Papers 10102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2007. "La connaissance des langues en Belgique," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 31-43.
    4. Dimitrov, Dinko & Lazarova, Emiliya, 2011. "Two-sided coalitional matchings," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 46-54, July.
    5. Lien, Donald, 2013. "Financial effects of the Confucius Institute on Chinese language acquisition: Isn’t it delightful that friends come from afar to teach you Hanyu?," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 87-100.
    6. repec:edn:sirdps:433 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Melitz, Jacques, 2012. "A framework for analyzing language and welfare," CEPR Discussion Papers 9091, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Neogi, Ranajoy Guha, 2017. "Decolonization, Property Rights and Language Conflicts," IZA Discussion Papers 10998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Jean Jaskold Gabszewicz & Victor Ginsburgh & Didier Laussel & Shlomo Weber, 2010. "Acquiring foreign languages: a two-sided market approach," Working Papers ECARES 2010_007, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Communicative Benefits; Linguistic Equilibrium; Learning Costs;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • 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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