Dialects, cultural identity, and economic exchange

Oliver Falck, Stephan Heblich, Alfred Lameli, Jens Suedekum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We study the effect of cultural ties on economic exchange using a novel measure for cultural identity: dialects. We evaluate linguistic micro-data from a unique language survey conducted between 1879 and 1888 in about 45,000 German schools. The recorded geography of dialects comprehensively portrays local cultural similarities that have been evolving for centuries, and provides an ideal opportunity to measure cultural barriers to economic exchange at a fine geographical scale. In a gravity analysis we show that cross-regional migration flows in the period 2000-2006 are positively affected by historical dialect similarity. Using different empirical strategies, we show that this finding indicates highly time-persistent cultural ties that foster economic exchange across regions. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-239
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Volume72
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Dialects
  • Language
  • Culture
  • Internal migration
  • Gravity
  • Germany
  • TASTE HETEROGENEITY
  • MIGRATION
  • TRADE
  • INSTITUTIONS
  • EMIGRATION
  • BOUNDARIES
  • DIVERSITY
  • DISTANCE
  • GRAVITY
  • IMPACT

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