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How Many Languages Do We Need?The Economics of Linguistic Diversity$
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Victor Ginsburgh and Shiomo Weber

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691136899

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691136899.001.0001

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Distances Matter

Distances Matter

(p.56) Chapter 4 Distances Matter
How Many Languages Do We Need?

Victor Ginsburgh

Shlomo Weber

Princeton University Press

The linguistic, genetic, and cultural distances discussed in Chapter 3 have important applications, and many economists have shown that they matter greatly. This chapter focuses on inter-country differences and their impact on trade, migration, translations, and certain aspects of voting behavior. Most applications of intercountry linguistic differences are based on what is now known as the gravity model, whose name comes from its analogy with Newton's 1687 law of universal gravitation. Section 1 is devoted to the best-known and most frequent application of the gravitational analogy: international trade flows. Section 2 discusses migrational flows. Section 3 analyzes the number of translations of literary works into and from various languages, whereas section 4 is devoted to a description of countries' voting patterns in the annual international Eurovision Song Contest.

Keywords:   linguistic diversity, Newton's law, universal gravitation, international trade, migration, literary translation, Eurovision Song Contest, inter-country differences, voting behavior

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