Economics at your fingertips  

The Evolution of Egalitarian Sociolinguistic Conventions

Suresh Naidu, Sung-Ha Hwang and Samuel Bowles

American Economic Review, 2017, vol. 107, issue 5, 572-77

Abstract: Motivated by historical examples and ideas from socio-linguistics, in particular the "non-reciprocal power semantic" of Brown and Gilman (1960), we extend evolutionary models of language to incorporate intentional linguistic innovations among conventions that may convey social superiority and inferiority, despite being ambiguous, in the sense of less efficiency in communicating information. We show that egalitarian and unambiguous linguistic conventions can be stochastically stable but also identify conditions under which ambiguous linguistic conventions that are imperfect signals of status differences may be stochastically stable.

JEL-codes: D02 D63 J15 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171089
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf) ... -shoN_883jjzUnqBKhtx (application/zip) ... enddW2wX2N6roB2CT86T (application/pdf) ... DAWZ34wRmI7NSm0C46zD (application/zip)
Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

Access Statistics for this article

American Economic Review is currently edited by Esther Duflo

More articles in American Economic Review from American Economic Association Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Michael P. Albert ().

Page updated 2018-08-11
Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:572-77