The economic value of language

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Although apparently unrelated at first sight, the relationship between economy and language has been established since the 1960s. The economics of language studies the influence of language on the economy and the influence of economy on language. In this chapter we focus on two dimensions of the economics of language: (i) the relationship between language and personal income, and (ii) the role of language in international trade. Language skills are part of an individual’s human capital. For an immigrant worker, investing in the linguistic capital of the host country is surely an advantage that will reflect in an increase of his/her relative income. However, society in general can benefit from the promotion of multilingualism. Sharing a common or even a similar language facilitates bilateral trade, not only due to easiness of communication and therefore reduced associated costs, but also because language is not independent from culture and cultural similarity enhances mutual trust.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Applied Business Research: the L.A.B.S. Initiative
EditorsHélder Fanha Martins, Orlando Gomes
Place of PublicationNova York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)978-1-63484-957-9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • International trade
  • Multilingualism
  • Human capital
  • Economics of language


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