City Research Online

Unilingual versus Bilingual Education: a Political Economy Analysis

Ortega, J. and Tangeraas, T. (2008). Unilingual versus Bilingual Education: a Political Economy Analysis. Journal of the European Economic Association, 6(5), pp. 1078-1108. doi: 10.1162/JEEA.2008.6.5.1078

Abstract

We consider an economy with two language groups, where only agents who share a language can produce together. Schooling enhances the productivity of students. Individuals attending a unilingual school end up speaking the language of instruction only, while bilingual schools render
individuals bilingual at the same cost. The politically dominant group(not necessarily the majority) chooses the type(s) of schools accessible to each language group, and then individuals decide whether to attend school. We show that the dominant either choose laissez-faire or restrict access to schools in the language of the dominated. Instead, the dominated favour the use of their own language. Thus, while agents do not derive utility from speaking their mother tongue, language conflicts of the expected type endogenously arise. Democracy (majority rule) always leads to the implementation of a socially optimal education system, while restrictions to the use of the language of the dominated are implemented too often under minority rule. The model is consistent with evidence from Belgium, France, and Finland.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: education, language policies, skills, minorities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Economics
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/3593
[img]
Preview
PDF - Accepted Version
Download (329kB) | Preview

Export

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login