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Is It Possible to Speak English Without Thinking American? On Globalization and the Determinants of Cultural Assimilation

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  • Alberto Chong

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Abstract

Based on research in linguistics and psychology I use language speech as a reflection of acculturation. I use individual and city-level data from the Lake Ontario area in Canada and study the determinants of cultural assimilation. I focus on education, age, income, and in particular, on some variables typically discussed when globalization issues come up, such as immigration, television viewing, borders, and residence history of the individuals. I find that actual contact does matter as a determinant of cultural homogenization. Virtual contact appears to be irrelevant. This finding is robust to changes in specification and to different empirical methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Chong, 2006. "Is It Possible to Speak English Without Thinking American? On Globalization and the Determinants of Cultural Assimilation," Research Department Publications 4454, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4454
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    1. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    2. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "I Just Ran Two Million Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-183, May.
    3. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
    4. Carolyn L. Evans, 2003. "The Economic Significance of National Border Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1291-1312, September.
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