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Linguistic Distances and their Use in Economics

Victor Ginsburgh () and Shlomo Weber ()

No 10640, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: The paper offers an overview of the various approaches to compute linguistic distances (the lexicostatistic method, Levenshtein distances, distances based on language trees, phonetic distances, the ASJP project and distances based on learning scores) as well as distances between groups. It also briefly describes how distances directly affect economic outcomes such as international trade, migrations, language acquisition and earnings, translations. Finally, one can construct indices that take account (or not) of distances and how these indices are used by economists to measure their impact outcomes such as redistribution, the provision of public goods, growth, or corruption.

Keywords: development; economic outcomes; growth; linguistic disenfranchisement; linguistic distances (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F6 O21 Z18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-05
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