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Talking Business: New Evidence on How Language Shapes Economic Behaviour

Author

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  • Campo, Francesco

    (University of Milan Bicocca)

  • Nunziata, Luca

    (University of Padova)

  • Rocco, Lorenzo

    (University of Padova)

Abstract

We provide a large scale within-country analysis of the effect of language future time reference (FTR) on the choice of being an entrepreneur using individual-level data from Switzerland, a country characterized by a unique long-standing multilingualism and a large share of immigrant population. We test the hypothesis that speakers of weak FTR languages may have a closer perception of future rewards and be more willing to become entrepreneurs, a choice that reflects future orientation. Our analysis consistently indicates that immigrants who speak weak FTR languages are around 2 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs compared to speakers of strong FTR languages, net of unobservable ancestral cultural traits, districts of destination's characteristics, linguistic features other than FTR, and whether individuals maintain their native language or switch to one of the four Swiss languages.

Suggested Citation

  • Campo, Francesco & Nunziata, Luca & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2020. "Talking Business: New Evidence on How Language Shapes Economic Behaviour," IZA Discussion Papers 13897, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13897
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    1. Astghik Mavisakalyan & Yashar Tarverdi & Clas Weber, 2022. "Heaven can wait: future tense and religiosity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 35(3), pages 833-860, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    entrepreneurship; language; future time reference; culture; migration; Switzerland;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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