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Learning foreign languages: theoretical and empirical implications of the Selten and Pool model

  • Victor Ginsburgh
  • Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin
  • Shlomo Weber

In this paper we adopt the Selten-Pool model (1993) framework of language acquisition that is based on the notion of communicative benefits and learning costs. We consider a model with languages that serve as imperfect substitutes and show that under supermodularity of the communicative benefits function and some other mild conditions, there exists a unique interior linguistic equilibrium. We then derive a demand function for foreign languages that we estimate for English, French, German and Spanish in 13 European countries.

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File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/7274/1/learning.pdf
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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/7274.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/7274
Contact details of provider: Postal: CP135, 50, avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles
Web page: http://difusion.ulb.ac.be

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  1. GINSBURGH, Victor & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignacio & WEBER, Shlomo, 2004. "Disenfranchisement in linguistically diverse societies. The case of the European Union," CORE Discussion Papers 2004080, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Lang, Kevin, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-82, May.
  3. McManus, Walter & Gould, William & Welch, Finis, 1983. "Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 101-30, April.
  4. Shlomo Weber & Victor Ginsburgh, 2004. "Languages Disenfranchisement in the European Union," Working Papers 2004.4, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
  6. Barry R. Chiswick, 1998. "Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 253-271.
  7. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-45, May.
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