AFRASO Lecture by Dr. Rajesh Ramachandran: "Language Policy and Human Development: The experience of vernacularization in Asia and Africa"

13. November 2014
Campus Westend, PEG, 1.G 192

6 pm - 8 pm

Lecture and title are based on joint work titled "Language Policy and Human Development" with Prof. Dr. David Laitin.

The role of language policy choices as a source of national growth and human development is explored. In a cross-country framework, it shown that choosing as official a language that is distant from the ones spoken by the local population is negatively correlated with an index measuring levels of human development. To interpret the cross-country results, two channels that affect the process of human capital formation are identified: (a) the individual's exposure to and (b) the individual's mother tongue's distance from the official language. Using individual level data from a set of twelve African countries and India, empirical support on how these two channels affect educational and occupational outcomes is presented.
Based on the results a comparative picture between Sub-Saharan Africa and the Asian continent is sketched. The differential role given to indigenous languages on the two continents and the scope for African countries to learn from the Asian experience will be discussed.

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