Comparative Politics Workshop with David Laitin
DateApril 27, 2015
4357 Bunche Hall
Belinda SunnuPhone email@example.com
Presenter:David Laitin, Stanford UniversityTitle: “Language Policy and Human Development”Abstract:[We] explore how language policy affects the socio-economic development of nation-states through two channels: the individual’s exposure to and (in reference to an individual’s mother tongue) linguistic distance from the official language. In a cross-country framework, we first establish a robust and sizeable negative relationship between an official language that is distant from the local indigenous languages and proxies for human capital and health. To establish this relationship as causal, we instrument language choice with a measure of geographic distance from the origins of writing. Next, using individual-level data from India and a set of twelve African countries, we provide micro-empirical support on the two channels — distance to the official language and exposure — and their implications for educational, health, occupational and wealth outcomes. Finally, we present narrative evidence on why, given the welfare implications of language policy, postcolonial elites have sustained inefficient policies.Paper:Click here to download.
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