The impact of English dominance on literature and welfare

Jacques Mélitz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Market forces privilege the translation of English fiction and poetry into other languages, and thus pose a danger for the accumulation of capital in the form of literature. A variety of source languages in translations makes literary capital more valuable as such. Further, the importance of writing in English in order to reach a world audience lowers the pool of talent capable of contributing to literature. The paper starts with a model of the world publishing market that explains why the dominant language acquires a disproportionate share of translations. Then the reasoning proceeds from theory to the empirical evidence. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)193-215
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


    • English dominance
    • Externalities
    • Language
    • Publishing
    • Translation
    • Welfare


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