Multilingualism and the Decline of French in Quebec

I have new working paper out (its now under consideration at Social Science Quarterly). Its a short article on the impact of the ecological inference fallacy in measuring the use of French in my home province of Quebec. Alongside my good friend Alex Arsenault Morin (a promising PhD student at Queen’s University), I argue that the vitality of the French language in Quebec is misestimated by different linguistic behaviors in the workplace and in the household.

The abstract is below and the article is here on SSRN:

Using census data from 2001, 2006 and 2011, we contest the view that the French language is retreating in Quebec. We argue that the apparent decline of French in Quebec is linked to a rise in multilingualism, especially of multilingualism in which French is one of the spoken languages. We find that inter-linguistic marriages, along with a rise in the proportion of individuals whose language at home is different from their language at work, distort statistics considerably. The level of usage of the French language is therefore considerably underestimated and the often discussed downward trend is absent. This yields important implications for policy analysis.

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About Vincent Geloso

Cornucopian economist, statistics freak and quantitative historian trained at the London School of Economics. I specialize in economic demography, law and economics and economic history (especially the measurement of living standards).

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