Impacts of Language in International Business and International Economics
Language and culture both have direct and indirect impacts on international trade, investment and business transactions. But culture cannot be used as a tool in international business nor can we accurately measure how transaction costs increase or decline due to culture. But languages can be used as tools in trade, investment and business, and we can econometrically measure as well as determine, through surveys, casework, and interviews, the impacts of languages. Three basic concepts or constructs in economics enable us to do this: 1, how "language products" can be analyzed under the concepts of supply and demand. 2, using transaction cost analyses to examine how languages affects international trade and investment [through gravity models] and how language and identity influence economic "actors" or "agents" [more a socio-economic or international business approach]. And 3, how the institutions- "the rules of the game"- condition economics and business through language usage, acquisition and policy. Governments and MNEs can and do engage in language policy to shape their economies, yet language is under-studied in economics. This talk focuses on four topics: 1, how languages affects international trade and investment; 2, the ways in which the power of language influences negotiations; 3, how language and identity influence economic "actors" or "agents", and 4, as an underlying theme, how language came to be associated with power [political and economic]. The talk will spend some time on economic history and languages, pull interesting bits from my published papers in international economics, international business and socio-economics, and touch on a bit of corporate social responsibility and also Confucius Institutes. With colleagues and alone I have 6 papers and a chapter published in this general area.