The Effect of Native Language on Internet Usage
25 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2002
Date Written: November 2002
In this Paper, I explore the relationship between native language and use of the Internet and examine whether English is likely to retain its first-mover advantage of a large installed base of English language websites. I study this issue empirically using a unique dataset on (home) Internet use at the individual level in Quebec from Media Metrix. The results suggest that English language websites are less of a barrier for French-speaking youths than for French-speaking adults in Quebec. To the extent that the younger generation drives the dynamics of the Internet, the results provide some support for the hypothesis that English will retain its first mover advantage of a large installed base of English language websites. I also examine the effect of bilingualism on Internet use and find that among native French speakers, bilingual individuals use English language websites significantly more than their monolingual counterparts.
Keywords: Internet use, network effects, language
JEL Classification: D12, L86
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation