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Your Language or Mine?

Ramon Caminal () and Antonio Di Paolo ()

No 852, Working Papers from Barcelona Graduate School of Economics

Abstract: Do languages matter beyond their communicative benefits? We explore the potential role of preferences over the language of use, theoretically and empirically. We focus on Catalonia, a bilingual society where everyone is fully proficient in Spanish, to isolate linguistic preferences from communicative benefits. Moreover, we exploit the language-in-education reform of 1983 to identify the causal effects of language skills. Results indicate that the policy change has improved the Catalan proficiency of native Spanish speakers, which in turn increased their propensity to find Catalan-speaking partners. Hence, the acquisition of apparently redundant language skills has expanded cooperation across speech communities.

Keywords: partnership formation; preferences; segregation; language skills; language use; language policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C26 C78 I28 J12 J15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-11
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