IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

One Nation, One Language? Domestic Language Diversity, Trade and Welfare


  • Gurevich, Tamara

    () (U.S. International Trade Commission)

  • Herman , Peter

    () (U.S. International Trade Commission)

  • Toubal, Farid

    () (University of Paris-Dauphin)

  • Yotov, Yoto

    () (School of Economics)


Using new data on linguistic diversity across and within countries, we examine novel channels though which language affects trade patterns and economic welfare. We find that linguistic similarity within a country accounts for about 10 percent of estimated `home bias', demonstrating the importance of shared languages for domestic integration. To highlight the general equilibrium implications of domestic language proximity, we simulate the repeal of Quebec's Bill 101, which made French an official language in Canada and established fundamental language rights for French-speakers. The analysis demonstrates that domestic language diversity has significant implications for Canada's welfare but also sizable economic consequences that stretch far beyond its borders.

Suggested Citation

  • Gurevich, Tamara & Herman , Peter & Toubal, Farid & Yotov, Yoto, 2021. "One Nation, One Language? Domestic Language Diversity, Trade and Welfare," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2021-8, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:drxlwp:2021_008

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2016. "The Palgrave Handbook of Economics and Language," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/277408, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Baier, Scott L. & Yotov, Yoto V. & Zylkin, Thomas, 2019. "On the widely differing effects of free trade agreements: Lessons from twenty years of trade integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 206-226.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Julia Seiermann, 2018. "Only Words? How Power in Trade Agreement Texts Affects International Trade Flows," UNCTAD Blue Series Papers 80, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    2. Arribas, Iván & Bensassi, Sami & Tortosa-Ausina, Emili, 2020. "Trade integration in the European Union: Openness, interconnectedness, and distance," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).
    3. Katharina Längle, 2020. "Upgrading of Exports: Does the Integration into Trade Agreements Pave the Way to Product Upgrading?," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 20006, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    4. Anderson, James E. & Yotov, Yoto V., 2020. "Short run gravity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    5. Falvey, Rod & Foster-McGregor, Neil, 2019. "The breadth of preferential trade agreements and the margins of exports," MERIT Working Papers 2019-012, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    6. Silviano Esteve-Pérez & Salvador Gil-Pareja & Rafael Llorca-Vivero, 2020. "Does the GATT/WTO promote trade? After all, Rose was right," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 156(2), pages 377-405, May.
    7. Lionel Fontagné & Gianluca Santoni, 2018. "GVCs and the Endogenous Geography of RTAs," Working Papers 2018-05, CEPII research center.
    8. Andrew Dickens, 2020. "Understanding Ethnic Differences: The Roles of Geography and Trade," Working Papers 1901, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    9. Gnutzmann, Hinnerk & Gnutzmann-Mkrtchyan, Arevik, 2020. "The Cost of Borders: Evidence from the Eurasian Customs Union," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-664, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    10. Dale-Olsen, Harald & Finseraas, Henning, 2019. "Linguistic Diversity and Workplace Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 12621, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Kimura, Fukunari & Okubo, Toshihiro & Steininger, Marina, 2019. "Quantifying the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 110-128.
    12. Olatunji Abdul Shobande, 2019. "Effect of Economic Integration on Agricultural Export Performance in Selected West African Countries," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(3), pages 1-14, August.
    13. Lionel Fontagné & Gianluca Santoni, 2018. "GVCs and the Endogenous Geography of RTAs [Mondialisation des chaînes de valeur et la géographie endogène des accords commerciaux régionaux]," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01763563, HAL.
    14. Salvador Gil-Pareja & Rafael Llorca-Vivero & Jordi Paniagua, 2018. "Trade law and trade flows," Working Papers 1804, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    15. Chen, Natalie & Novy, Dennis, 2017. "Currency unions, trade and heterogeneity," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88487, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Jacopo Timini & Francesca Viani, 2020. "El tratado de libre comercio entre la UE y el MERCOSUR: principales elementos e impacto económico," Boletín Económico, Banco de España;Boletín Económico Homepage, issue 1/2020, pages 1-13.
    17. Peter H. Egger & Mario Larch & Yoto V. Yotov, 2020. "Gravity-Model Estimation with Time-Interval Data: Revisiting the Impact of Free Trade Agreements," CESifo Working Paper Series 8553, CESifo.
    18. Falvey, Rod & Foster-McGregor, Neil, 2017. "On the relationship between the breadth of PTAs and trade flows," MERIT Working Papers 2017-038, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    19. Kern, Milena & Paetzold, Joerg & Winner, Hannes, 2018. "Cutting Red Tape for Trade in Services," Working Papers in Economics 2018-9, University of Salzburg.
    20. Borchert, Ingo & Yotov, Yoto V., 2017. "Distance, globalization, and international trade," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 32-38.

    More about this item


    Common language; ethno-linguistic diversity; identity; international trade; domestic trade; domestic trade costs; welfare;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C54 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Quantitative Policy Modeling
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F19 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Other
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ris:drxlwp:2021_008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard C. Barnett). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.