Linguistic Cleavages and Economic Development

  • Klaus Desmet
  • Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín
  • Romain Wacziarg


What is the effect of linguistic diversity on economic and political outcomes? Much of the recent literature on this topic investigates how linguistic cleavages affect civil conflict, redistribution, economic growth, public goods and governance.1 Most of the cross-country evidence suggests that linguistic diversity has negative effects on these political economy outcomes. These findings may help explain why the US has a smaller welfare state than Europe, why some countries develop more slowly than others or why some African countries tend to have a higher incidence of civil conflict than others.


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© Klaus Desmet, Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín and Romain Wacziarg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Desmet
  • Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín
  • Romain Wacziarg

There are no affiliations available

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