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IFF-HSG Working Papers – No. 2022-12

Does the particular languagewe speak influence our thinking, perceptions, and behavior? In a widely cited article, Chen (2013) empirically claims that language structure affects future-oriented behavior. This study tests his claim by exploiting the historical and sharp German-French language border within Switzerland. Using tax data of the bilingual canton of Bern, we study the behavior of individuals that are exposed to a common institutional, political, economic, and geographic environment but differ in their language group membership. We find that, compared to their French-speaking fellow citizens, the German speakers save more for retirement, are more likely to pursue continuing education and training, less tempted to gambling, and dispose over higher wealth. Our novel within-country evidence thus supports the mainly cross-country findings of Chen (2013).

Autor: Manuela Leuenberger

Datum: 4. Februar 2022