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Common tongue: The impact of language on economic performance


  • Jain, Tarun


This paper investigates the impact of language on economic performance. I use the 1956 reorganization of Indian states on linguistic lines as a natural experiment to estimate the impact of speaking the majority language on educational and occupational outcomes. I find that districts that spoke the majority language of the state during colonial times enjoy persistent economic benefits, as evidenced by higher educational achievement and employment in communication intensive sectors. After reorganization, historically minority language districts experience greater growth in educational achievement, indicating that reassignment could reverse the impact of history.

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  • Jain, Tarun, 2011. "Common tongue: The impact of language on economic performance," MPRA Paper 34423, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34423

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    Cited by:

    1. Jain, Tarun & Maitra, Pushkar & Mani, Subha, 2016. "Barriers to Skill Acquisition: Evidence from English Training in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10199, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    Language; Communication costs; Education; Occupational choice; Reorganization of Indian states;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • N95 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Asia including Middle East

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