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Language disenfranchisement in the European Union


  • Victor Ginsburgh
  • Shlomo Weber


We introduce the notion of language disenfranchisement which arises if the number of EU working languages is reduced. We use the data on language proficiency in EU and show that, in spite of the widespread knowledge of English, the retention of French and German as working languages in essential to avoid a too large degree of disenfranchisement of citizens. The picture, however, becomes somewhat different if we consider the population under age of 40. We also argue that even though French is the second leading language within the EU, the situation is likely to be reversed after the enlargement.
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  • Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Language disenfranchisement in the European Union," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5263, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/5263
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fidrmuc, Jan & Ginsburgh, Victor & Weber, Shlomo, 2009. "Voting on the choice of core languages in the European Union," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 56-62, March.
    2. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2012. "Culture Languages and Economics," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-009, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Fidrmuc, Jan & Ginsburgh, Victor, 2007. "Languages in the European Union: The quest for equality and its cost," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1351-1369, August.
    4. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2007. "La connaissance des langues en Belgique," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 31-43.
    5. Jan Fidrmuc, 2012. "The Economics of Multilingualism in the EU," Chapters,in: Research Handbook on the Economics of European Union Law, chapter 15 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    7. Robert Oxoby, 2009. "Understanding social inclusion, social cohesion, and social capital," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(12), pages 1133-1152, October.
    8. Ginsburgh, Victor & Moreno-Ternero, Juan D. & Weber, Shlomo, 2017. "Ranking languages in the European Union: Before and after Brexit," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 139-151.
    9. Ginsburgh, Victor & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Weber, Shlomo, 2007. "Learning foreign languages: Theoretical and empirical implications of the Selten and Pool model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(3-4), pages 337-347.
    10. Victor Ginsburgh & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Disenfranchisement In Linguistically Diverse Societies: The Case Of The European Union," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 946-965, June.
    11. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2013. "Linguistic diversity, standardization and disenfranchisement. Measurement and consequences," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/152436, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. Ortega, Javier & Tangeraas, Thomas, 2003. "Unilingual versus Bilingual Education System: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 4003, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Sparber, Chad, 2008. "A theory of racial diversity, segregation, and productivity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 210-226, October.
    14. Uriarte Ayo, José Ramón, 2015. "A Game-Theoreteic Analysis of Minority Language Use in Multilingual Societies," IKERLANAK Ikerlanak;2015-93, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
    15. Jean Gabszewicz & Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2011. "Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 101-102, pages 271-286.
    16. Victor Ginsburgh & Juan Prieto-Rodriguez, 2013. "Is there a Gender Bias in the Use of Foreign Languages in Europe?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 552-566, November.
    17. Chr. Hjorth-Andersen, 2006. "The Relative Importance of the European Languages," Discussion Papers 06-23, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    18. Aurélien Portuese, 2012. "Law and economics of the European multilingualism," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 279-325, October.
    19. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, "undated". "Multiligualism," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/174045, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    20. Victor Ginsburgh, 2005. "Languages, Genes, and Cultures," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, February.
    21. Вебер Ш. & Давыдов Д.В., 2015. "Экономика Разнообразия: Подходы, Методы, Результаты," Журнал Экономика и математические методы (ЭММ), Центральный Экономико-Математический Институт (ЦЭМИ), vol. 51(4), pages 3-13, октябрь.
    22. Laura Onofri & Paulo A.L.D. Nunes & Jasone Cenoz & Durk Gorter, 2013. "Linguistic Diversity and Preferences: Econometric Evidence from European Cities," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, vol. 56(1), pages 39-60.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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