Empire, War, and Hollywood : The Economics of the English Language
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- Master Thesis 
English is a pervasive language in today’s world, a nd empire, war, and Hollywood are sociocultural ways in which English has asserted its influence. No matter what country you live in you are bound to be exposed to it in some way, most likely on a daily basis. The genesis of English as the world’s lingua franca has been a long and complicated process, but the language’s continuing importance cannot be denied. The role that economics has played in English’s ascent as a world language is little disc ussed, but significant. Likewise, little has been written of the effects of English proficiency, namely English as a second language, on economic growth. Establishing causation for this re lationship is a delicate matter and will be investigated through the course of this paper. The outline of this paper is as follows. After a brief history of the ascent of English, an inquiry into the economic basis for English as a lingua franca ensues. The result of this indicates that in addition to socio-cultural forces English possesses an unparalleled economic might. Next, the effects of English proficiency on national prosperity are observed through various mechanisms. The results suggest positive effects of English proficiency on GDP per capita with varying degrees of significance depending on the dataset. A study of sub-Saharan Af rica then makes the case that English has little effect there. Finally, a discussion section attempts to tie the data together positing that English proficiency has greater economic effect in developed nations than in developing ones.