The Economics of the Multilingual Workplace
Routledge – 2010 – 228 pages
This book proposes a path-breaking study of the economics of multilingualism at work, proposing a systematic approach to the identification and measurement of the ways in which language skills and economic performance are related.
Using the instruments of economic investigation, but also explicitly relating the analysis to the approaches to multilingualism at work developed in the language sciences, this interdisciplinary book proposes a systematic, step-by-step exploration of the issue. Starting from a general identification of the linkages between multilingualism and processes of value creation, it reviews the contributions of linguistics and economics before developing a new economic model of production in which language is taken into account. Testing of the model using data from two countries provides quantitative estimations of the influence of multilingualism on economic processes, showing that foreign language skills can make a considerable contribution to a country’s GDP. These findings have significant implications for language policy and suggest strategies helping language planners to harness market forces for increased effectiveness.
List of Tables and Figures Acknowledgments Introduction Part I: The Economic Perspective on Multilingualism 1: Language at Work: Identifying the Issue 2: On the Linguistics of the Economy v. the Economics of Language 3: A Gallery of Empirical Findings 4: Foreign Language Skills and Earnings Part II: Foreign Language Skills, Foreign Language Use, and Production 5: Language Use and the Production Process 6: From Theory to Measurement 7: The Contribution of Multilingualism to Value Creation 8: Foreign Language Skills and Hiring Strategies Part III: Policy Implications and Future Prospects 9: Policy Implications 10: Multilingualism at Work: A Prospective Glance Appendix I: Language-Augmented Production Model Appendix II: Estimation Procedure and Results Appendix III: A Simple Recruitment Model Notes Bibliography Index
François Grin is Professor of Economics, University of Geneva, Switzerland. Claudio Sfreddo is Professor of Economics at the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland. François Vaillancourt is Professor of Economics, University of Montreal, Canada.