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Linguistic Diversity and Redistribution

  • Klaus Desmet

    ()

    (Universidad Carlos III, Getafe (Madrid), Spain, and CEPR)

  • Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin

    ()

    (Universidad Carlos III, Getafe (Madrid), Spain)

  • Shlomo Weber

    ()

    (Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA, CORE, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and CEPR)

This paper investigates the effect of linguistic diversity on redistribution in a broad cross-section of countries. We use the notion of "linguistic distances" and show that the commonly used fractionalization index, which ignores linguistic distances, yields insignificant results. However, once distances between languages are accounted for, linguistic diversity has both a statistically and economically significant effect on redistribution. With an average level of redistribution of 9.5% of GDP in our data set, an increase by one standard deviation in the degree of diversity lowers redistribution by approximately one percentage point. We also demonstrate that other measures, such as polarization and peripheral heterogeneity, provide similar results when linguistic distances are incorporated.

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Paper provided by International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia in its series Working Papers with number 004-08.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tbs:wpaper:08-004
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  1. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 5630, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Working Papers 46, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2008. "On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-08, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  4. Victor Ginsburgh & Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Disenfranchisement in linguistically diverse societies: the case of the European Union," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1951, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  7. DESMET, Klaus & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignacio & WEBER, Shlomo, 2005. "Peripheral diversity and redistribution," CORE Discussion Papers 2005044, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-51, July.
  9. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2002. "Why ethnic fractionalization? Polarization, ethnic conflict and growth," Economics Working Papers 660, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2002.
  11. Fearon, James D, 2003. "Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
  12. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 1999. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Working Papers 9902, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  13. Marta Reynal-Querol, 2002. "Ethnicity, Political Systems, and Civil Wars," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 46(1), pages 29-54, February.
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  16. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  17. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  18. Woojin Lee & John E. Roemer, 2004. "Racism and Redistribution in the United States: A Solution to the Problem of American Exceptionalism," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1462, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  19. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
  20. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2004. "Community Composition and Collective Action: Analyzing Initial Mail Response to the 2000 Census," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 303-312, February.
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