Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


Common Tongue :
The Impact of Language on
Educational Outcomes


Tarun Jain

Indian School of Business, Hyderabad

Thursday, 28th  February 2013 at 3:00 PM

Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

All are cordially invited


This paper investigates the impact of official language policies on educational outcomes using state formation in India. Colonial-era province formation led to the assignment of some districts where the district’s language was the same as the official language of the province and some where it was not. The difference in educational achievement is large between these two areas. Linguistically mismatched districts have 18.8% lower literacy rates and 27.6% lower college graduation rates in post-colonial census. The paper uses the 1956 reorganization of Indian states on linguistic lines as a natural experiment to estimate the impact of changing the official language on educational outcomes. Historically mismatched districts experience greater growth in educational achievement after reorganization relative to districts that spoke the official language before 1956. These results suggest that political reorganisation can mitigate the impact of mismatched language policies.


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