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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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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
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Publication status: Forthcoming
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/7274
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  1. Shlomo Weber & Victor Ginsburgh, 2004. "Languages Disenfranchisement in the European Union," Working Papers 2004.4, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. 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, 06.
  3. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Kevin Lang, 1986. "A Language Theory of Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(2), pages 363-382.
  6. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-45, May.
  7. Barry R. Chiswick, 1998. "Hebrew language usage: Determinants and effects on earnings among immigrants in Israel," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(2), pages 253-271.
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