Common Tongue: The Impact of Language on Educational Outcomes

76 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2011 Last revised: 2 Dec 2016

See all articles by Tarun Jain

Tarun Jain

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Date Written: November 30, 2016


This paper investigates the impact of official language policies on education using state formation in India. Colonial provinces consisted of some districts where the official language matched the district's language and some where it did not. Linguistically mismatched districts have 18.0% lower literacy rates and 20.1% lower college graduation rates, driven by difficulty in acquiring education due to a different medium of instruction in schools. Educational achievement caught up in mismatched districts after the 1956 reorganization of Indian states on linguistic lines, suggesting that political reorganization can mitigate the impact of mismatched language policies.

Keywords: Language, Medium of instruction, Education, Political reorganization

JEL Classification: I20, N95, O15, O43

Suggested Citation

Jain, Tarun, Common Tongue: The Impact of Language on Educational Outcomes (November 30, 2016). Indian School of Business WP ISB-WP/103/2011, Available at SSRN: or

Tarun Jain (Contact Author)

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad ( email )

Ahmedabad, 380015

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