Multilingualism and public goods provision: An experiment in two languages in Uganda

Clist, Paul ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9338-9446 and Verschoor, Arjan (2017) Multilingualism and public goods provision: An experiment in two languages in Uganda. Journal of Development Economics, 129. pp. 47-57. ISSN 0304-3878

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Abstract

Multilingualism is the global norm, but the implications of this for cooperation and public goods provision have not been studied before. We test whether the language in which a public goods game is played affects subjects' contributions amongst a bilingual population in eastern Uganda, finding that subjects contribute 30% more on average in the national language. This treatment effect is solely driven by those most associated with the local Gisu identity, for whom contributions are 43–74% higher in the national language. This difference fits with Gisu culture's high value on self-reliance and low value on reciprocity and cooperation, due to a violent history of intense competition over land. Language is thus shown to affect cooperation, but only for individuals who both have different latent norms and for whom language activates these norms. NB: The experimental script, data and code are available at https://paulclist.github.io

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: identity,language,cooperation
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Impact Evaluation
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Gender and Development
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Sciences
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Behavioural and Experimental Development Economics
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2017 05:04
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 13:04
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/64647
DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2017.08.003

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