Linguistics, Culture, Media and Development

Belonging to a linguistic area and its effects on foreign trade have been the subject of key work by FERDI, with particular attention paid to French-speaking countries. FERDI is also developing its research on the role of media and new technologies in developing countries’ political life and economy.

The economic impact of languages

In 2012, the Language Policy Department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI) asked FERDI to conduct a study on the economic weight of the French language in the world. The conclusions of this study carried out by Céline Carrère and Maria Masood, show that belonging to the French-speaking area increases intra-zone trade flows, improves trade openness, and can lead to reducing unemployment. 

A similar study was carried out on the 5 major linguistic areas (French, English, Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese – a total of 127 countries) in 2013-2014, as part of an agreement with MAEDI. This work showed that being part of a linguistic area has a positive impact on the bilateral trade between the member countries, especially for economically modest linguistic areas. 

Céline Carrère and Maria Masood have since deepened their research, focusing in particular on the effects of cultural proximity on the resilience of trade in times of economic crisis. 

Role of the media and new technologies on political life and the economy

FERDI is also studying the economic and social phenomena resulting from the Arab Spring, the role of the media and new technologies in political life and the economy, and the links between digital confidence and economic development.

Results and Impact

 In 2019, FERDI and BE-YS launched a Digital Trust Chair. Its purpose is to study, analyze, understand, and formulate recommendations aimed at promoting the digital transformation of African economies.

Publication in 2016 of the book L'impact économique des langues (Economica – In French) under the direction of Céline Carrère. This book presents an analysis by 5 economists of the link between language and economic development. It is the first time that an econometric analysis specific to the French-speaking zone has been made, and it provides quantitative conclusions in terms of trade, per capita GDP, and employment.

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