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The economic value of reciprocal bilingualism

Ramon Caminal ()

UFAE and IAE Working Papers from Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC)

Abstract: Some bilingual societies exhibit a distribution of language skills that can- not be explained by economic theories that portray languages as pure commu- nication devices. Such distribution of skills are typically the result of public policies that promote bilingualism among members of both speech commu- nities (reciprocal bilingualism). In this paper I argue that these policies are likely to increase social welfare by diminishing economic and social segmenta- tion between the two communities. However, these gains tend to be unequally distributed over the two communities. As a result, in a large range of circum- stances these policies might not draw su¢ cient support. The model is built upon the communicative value of languages, but also emphasizes the role of linguistic preferences in the behavior of bilingual individuals..

Keywords: bilingualism; segmentation; linguistic preferences; network externalities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I28 J15 J42 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 34
Date: 2013-09-13
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Working Paper: The Economic Value of Reciprocal Bilingualism (2013) Downloads
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