Doh-Shin Jeon, Bruno Jullien, and Mikhail Klimenko, Language, Internet and Platform Competition, TSE Working Paper, n. 12-336, September 14, 2012, revised February 2017.


The World Wide Web was originally a totally English-based medium due to its US origin. Although the presence of other languages has steadily risen, content in English is still dominant, which raises a natural question of how bilingualism of con- sumers of a home country a¤ects production of web content in the home language and domestic welfare? In this paper, we address this question by studying how bilingual- ism a¤ects competition between a foreign search engine and a domestic one within a small country and thereby production of home language content. We ?nd that bilingualism unambiguously softens platform competition, which in turn can induce a reduction in home language content and in home country?s welfare. In particular, it is possible that content in the foreign language crowds out so much content in the home language that consumers enjoy less content when they are bilingual than when they are monolingual.