Why Do People Learn Foreign Languages?

CORE Discussion Paper No. 2004/79

13 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2005

See all articles by Victor A. Ginsburgh

Victor A. Ginsburgh

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE); Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - European Center for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES)

Ignacio Ortuño Ortín

University of Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis

Shlomo Weber

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

Date Written: November 2004

Abstract

We suggest a demand model for foreign languages and estimate demand functions for English, French, German and Spanish in 13 European countries. We show that three variables explain reasonably well the share of people who learn a foreign language: the larger the native population in the country, the less its citizens are prone to learn another language; the more the foreign language is spoken, the more it attracts others to learn it; the larger the distance between two languages, the smaller the proportion of people who will learn it.

Keywords: time-to-market, market structure, vertical product differentiation

JEL Classification: L11, L13, O31

Suggested Citation

Ginsburgh, Victor A. and Ortuño Ortín, Ignacio and Weber, Shlomo, Why Do People Learn Foreign Languages? (November 2004). CORE Discussion Paper No. 2004/79, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=688882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.688882

Victor A. Ginsburgh (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

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Ignacio Ortuño Ortín

University of Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis ( email )

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Spain
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Shlomo Weber

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics ( email )

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United States
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New Economic School ( email )

Moscow
Russia
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