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Unpublished Paper
Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits
Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei Working Papers
  • Shlomo Weber, Southern Methodist University
  • Jean Gabszewicz, CORE, Universitè Catholique de Louvain
  • Victor Ginsburgh, ECARES, Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium and CORE, Universite Catholique de Louvain
Date of This Version
We examine patterns of acquiring non-native languages in a model with two languages and two populations with heterogeneous learning skills, where every individual faces a binary choice of learning the foreign language or refraining from doing so. We show that both interior and corner linguistic equilibria can emerge in our framework, and that the fraction of learners of the foreign language is higher in the country with a higher gross cost adjusted communicative benefit. It turns out that this observation is consistent with the data on language proficiency in bilingual countries such as Belgium and Canada. We also point out that linguistic equilibria can exhibit insufficient learning which opens the door for government policies that are beneficial for both populations.
Citation Information
Shlomo Weber, Jean Gabszewicz and Victor Ginsburgh. "Bilingualism and Communicative Benefits" (2008)
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