DP15770 The measurement of the value of a language
|Author(s):||Jorge Alcalde Unzu, Juan D. Moreno-Ternero, Shlomo Weber|
|Publication Date:||February 2021|
|Keyword(s):||axioms, Characterization, Communicative benefits, Measure, Value of a language|
|JEL(s):||C72, D62, D63, Z13|
|Programme Areas:||Public Economics|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15770|
We address the problem of assessing the value of a language. We consider a stylized model of multilingual societies in which we introduce axioms formalizing the principles of impartiality, monotonicity, invariance and consistency. We show that the combination of these axioms characterizes a family of communicative benefit functions which assign a value to each language in the society. The functions within the family involve a two-step procedure. First, they identify the groups of agents that can communicate in each language. Second, each group is assigned an aggregate (size-dependent) value, which is evenly divided among the languages in which the group can communicate. Our novel approach could be useful in a wide range of empirical applications and policy decisions.