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Junbing Zhang (Free University of Berlin) - Chinese Dialects Diversity & Local Economic Development

Date and Time: December 24th, 2019, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Room: A 101 in the Economics Building (Museum)


In this paper, we explore the effects of dialect diversity on economic performance by drawing evidence from Chinese prefecture-level cities. Our dataset is a panel of 5-year average data over the period from 2001 to 2015 including 274 cities. We compute five indices of dialect diversity: 1. Dialect fractionalization; 2. Adjusted dialect fractionalization; 3. Dialect polarization, 4. Adjusted dialect polarization and 5. Periphery heterogeneity. The baseline specification is done through a fixed effect model. Approaches, pooled-2SLS, FE-2SLS and IV-GMM, are also applied to reduce the impact of endogeneity. We find that in China economic benefits from dialect diversity.
Dialect fractionalization and polarization as well as periphery heterogeneity have a positive effect on both income per capita and economic growth. Adjusted dialect fractionalization exhibits a positive effect only on the change in economic growth over time. However, adjusted dialect polarization does not show any robust effects. Furthermore, the experience of being governed by the Chinese Communist Party during the revolutionary war tends to inhibit the negative effects of dialect diversity in Eastern China, while it has negative effects in the rest of the country.

About the Speaker

Junbing Zhu is a PhD Candidate at the Institute of East European Studies at the Free University of Berlin. Her research interests are comparative economic development, neopolitical economy and transition economy.

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