Dialects, Cultural Identity, and Economic Exchange

53 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2010

See all articles by Oliver Falck

Oliver Falck

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation

Stephan Heblich

University of Stirling - Department of Economics

Alfred Lameli

University of Marburg

Jens Suedekum

Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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Abstract

We investigate whether time-persistent cultural borders impede economic exchange across regions of the same country. To measure cultural differences we evaluate, for the first time in economics, linguistic micro-data about phonological and grammatical features of German dialects. These data are taken from a unique linguistic survey conducted between 1879 and 1888 in 45,000 schools. Matching this information to 439 current German regions, we construct a dialect similarity matrix. Using a gravity analysis, we show that current cross-regional migration is positively affected by historical dialect similarity. This suggests that cultural identities formed in the past still influence economic exchange today.

Keywords: gravity, internal migration, culture, language, dialects, Germany

JEL Classification: R23, Z10, J61

Suggested Citation

Falck, Oliver and Heblich, Stephan and Lameli, Alfred and Südekum, Jens, Dialects, Cultural Identity, and Economic Exchange. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4743, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552677

Oliver Falck (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich, 81679
Germany

Stephan Heblich

University of Stirling - Department of Economics ( email )

Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.management.stir.ac.uk/people/economics/academic-staff/dr-stephan-heblich

Alfred Lameli

University of Marburg ( email )

Jens Südekum

Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 1
Duesseldorf, NRW 40225
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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