Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits

17 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2008  

Shlomo Weber

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics; New Economic School

Jean J. Gabszewicz

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Victor A. Ginsburgh

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE); Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Date Written: February 1, 2008

Abstract

We examine patterns of acquiring non-native languages in a model with two languages and two populations with heterogeneous learning skills, where every individual faces a binary choice of learning the foreign language or refraining from doing so. We show that both interior and corner linguistic equilibria can emerge in our framework, and that the fraction of learners of the foreign language is higher in the country with a higher gross cost adjusted communicative benefit. It turns out that this observation is consistent with the data on language proficiency in bilingual countries such as Belgium and Canada. We also point out that linguistic equilibria can exhibit insufficient learning which opens the door for government policies that are beneficial for both populations.

Keywords: Communicative Benefits, Linguistic Equilibrium, Learning Costs

JEL Classification: C72, D83, O52, Z13

Suggested Citation

Weber, Shlomo and Gabszewicz, Jean J. and Ginsburgh, Victor A., Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits (February 1, 2008). FEEM Working Paper No. 17.2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1105319 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1105319

Shlomo Weber (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics ( email )

Dallas, TX 75275
United States
214-768-3577 (Phone)
214-768-1821 (Fax)

New Economic School ( email )

Moscow
Russia
+ 7-495-9569508 (Phone)

Jean J. Gabszewicz

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

Victor A. Ginsburgh

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium
+32 2 650 3846 (Phone)
+32 2 650 4012 (Fax)

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) ( email )

Ave. Franklin D Roosevelt, 50 - C.P. 114
Brussels, B-1050
Belgium
+32 2 650 3839/4 (Phone)
+32 2 650 3595 (Fax)

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