Dialects, Cultural Identity, and Economic Exchange

48 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 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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Date Written: February 2010

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: dialects, language, culture, internal migration, gravity, 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 (February 2010). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2961, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1562445

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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