The Economics of Language

85 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2018

See all articles by Victor Ginsburgh

Victor Ginsburgh

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

Shlomo Weber

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

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

The paper brings together methodological, theoretical, and empirical analysis into the single framework of linguistic diversity. It reflects both historical and contemporary research by economists and other social scientists on the impact of language on economic outcomes and public policies. We examine whether and how language influences human thinking (including emotions) and behavior, analyze the effects of linguistic distances on trade, migrations, financial markets, language learning and its returns. The quantitative foundations of linguistic diversity, which rely on group identification, linguistic distances as well as fractionalization, polarization and disenfranchisement indices are discussed in terms of their empirical challenges and uses. We conclude with an analysis of linguistic policies and shifts of languages and examine their welfare effects and the trade-offs between the development of labor markets and the social costs that they generate in various countries.

Keywords: Diversity Indices. Welfare., Economic Behavior, Educational Linguistic Policies, Languages, Linguistic Distances

JEL Classification: F13, F22, G11, H11, J15, J3, O10, Z13, Z18

Suggested Citation

Ginsburgh, Victor and Weber, Shlomo, The Economics of Language (June 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3202274

Victor Ginsburgh (Contact Author)

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

Shlomo Weber

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)

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