nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2006‒02‒26
six papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Universita degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. The Most Important Works of Art of the Twentieth Century By David W. Galenson
  2. And Now for Something Completely Different: The Versatility of Conceptual Innovators By David W. Galenson
  3. The effects of gallery and artist reputation on prices in the primary market for art By Susanne Schönfeld; Andreas Reinstaller
  4. Need for closure and media use and preference of youngsters By Vermeir,I.; Geuens, M.
  5. Piracy on the Silver Screen By Rafael Rob; Joel Waldfogel
  6. Does Television Rot Your Brain? New Evidence from the Coleman Study By Matthew Gentzkow; Jesse M. Shapiro

  1. By: David W. Galenson
    Abstract: A survey of art history textbooks identifies and ranks the eight most important works of the 20th century. The most important painting of the century was Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, executed by Picasso at the age of 26, which began the development of Cubism. Among the other seven works, a collage, an earthwork, and a ready-made all represent new genres that had not existed at the start of the century. All eight works were made by conceptual artists, at a median age of just 32. The results underline the importance of young conceptual innovators, who made radical departures from existing conventions, in the advanced art of the century. Four of the eight works were made by Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, and this highlights the importance of the versatile conceptual innovators who became a prominent feature of twentieth-century art.
    JEL: J0 J4
    Date: 2006–02
  2. By: David W. Galenson
    Abstract: Art scholars have puzzled over the behavior of Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter, and Sigmar Polke - important modern painters who have made frequent and abrupt changes of style. Yet in each case the scholars have assumed this behavior to be idiosyncratic, and have consequently failed to recognize its common basis. Versatility is in fact often a characteristic of conceptual innovators, whose ability to solve specific problems can free them to pursue new goals. This contrasts sharply with the practice of experimental artists, whose inability to achieve their goals often ties them to a single style for a whole career. The phenomenon of the conceptual innovator who produces diverse innovations is an important feature of twentieth-century art; Picasso was the prototype, and he was followed by a series of others, from Marcel Duchamp through Damien Hirst. Versatility has furthermore been a characteristic not only of modern conceptual painters, but also of conceptual innovators in other arts, and conceptual scholars. Recognizing the common basis of this behavior increases our understanding of human creativity.
    JEL: J0
    Date: 2006–02
  3. By: Susanne Schönfeld (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics & B.A.); Andreas Reinstaller (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics & B.A.)
    Abstract: This paper advances a decision theoretical foundation for pricing scripts by means of a simple model of product differentiation implementing the undercut-proof equilibrium concept. We argue that while sociological factors play undoubtedly an important role, economic analysis can complement the insights from economic sociology on pricing in the primary art market. Our model analyzes the effects of the gallery's and the artist's reputation on the price the gallery charges. The results suggest that prices positively correlate with an artist's reputation and negatively correlate with a gallery's reputation. The model may therefore explain the results of recent empirical studies that have led to similar results.
    JEL: Z11 L11
    Date: 2005–05
  4. By: Vermeir,I.; Geuens, M.
    Abstract: This study examines the explanatory power of an individual difference variable, Need for Closure (NFCL) for media use and preferences for specific media, genres and channels. Results of the study show that high and low NFCL youngsters do not differ in the amount of time spent on cognitive undemanding media (TV, radio, music). However, high (versus low) NFCL youngsters engage less in cognitive effortful activities like reading newspapers and surfing the Internet. Furthermore, high and low NFCL youngsters have a preference for a similar scope of genres and channels. More specifically, high NFCL youngsters prefer well-respected, conventional and less cognitive complex genres and channels. Low NFCL youngsters prefer more alternative, non-conformists, critical and intellectually stimulating genres and channels. Results are discussed and practical implications are provided.
    Keywords: Media use, media preferences, individual differences, motivation
    Date: 2006–02–12
  5. By: Rafael Rob; Joel Waldfogel
    Abstract: New information technology has reduced marginal production and distribution costs of information goods to negligible levels and promises to revolutionize many industries. Unpaid copies of digital products can be as good as paid first-generation copies, and their availability can undermine the ability of sellers to cover first-copy costs. As a result, unpaid distribution has emerged as a major issue facing the music and movie industries in the past few years. Using survey data on movie consumption by about 500 University of Pennsylvania college students, we ask whether unpaid consumption of movies displaces paid consumption. Employing a variety of cross-sectional and longitudinal empirical approaches, we find large and statistically significant evidence of displacement. In what we view as the most appropriate empirical specifications, we find that unpaid first consumption reduces paid consumption by about 1 unit. Unpaid second consumption has a smaller effect, about 0.20 units. These estimates indicate that unpaid consumption, which makes up 5.2 percent of movie viewing in our sample, reduced paid consumption in our sample by 3.5 percent.
    JEL: L8 K2
    Date: 2006–02
  6. By: Matthew Gentzkow; Jesse M. Shapiro
    Abstract: We use heterogeneity in the timing of television's introduction to different local markets to identify the effect of preschool television exposure on standardized test scores later in life. Our preferred point estimate indicates that an additional year of preschool television exposure raises average test scores by about .02 standard deviations. We are able to reject negative effects larger than about .03 standard deviations per year of television exposure. For reading and general knowledge scores, the positive effects we find are marginally statistically significant, and these effects are largest for children from households where English is not the primary language, for children whose mothers have less than a high school education, and for non-white children. To capture more general effects on human capital, we also study the effect of childhood television exposure on school completion and subsequent labor market earnings, and again find no evidence of a negative effect.
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2006–02

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