nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2007‒09‒09
three papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University of the Piemonte Orientale

  1. Artists and the Market: From Leonardo and Titian to Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst By David Galenson
  2. Economics of Literary Translation: A Simple Theory and Evidence By Ginsburgh, Victor; Weber, Shlomo; Weyers, Sheila
  3. Strategic Information Transmission through the Media By Jung, Hanjoon Michael

  1. By: David Galenson
    Abstract: In an era in which there is open discussion of many previously forbidden subjects, including race, sex, religion, and drugs, why is it that the nexus between money and art remains perhaps the last taboo subject for many in the art world? The answer can be found five centuries in the past. As the prices artists charged their patrons increased during the Italian Renaissance, their new social status was accompanied by the convention that they should not publicly appear to be concerned with money. This Renaissance ideal persisted into the modern era, even though the growth of a competitive market for fine art in the late 19th century made prices a subject of public discussion for critics and other observers of the art world. Pablo Picasso might privately use shrewd business tactics to amass a great fortune, but he and other successful artists were careful not to make public statements about the market for their work. It was not until the 1960s that a prominent painter decisively broke with the Renaissance tradition: Andy Warhol not only painted images of paper money, but also freely expressed his interest in financial success. Two leading contemporary artists, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, have followed Warhol's model of the artist as avowed materialist, specifically citing the high prices of their work as evidence of their importance. In a survival of the Renaissance convention, however, even today many critics and art scholars continue to regard the relationship between art and money as a taboo topic, and to maintain - incorrectly - that prices and artistic importance are unrelated.
    JEL: J01
    Date: 2007–09
  2. By: Ginsburgh, Victor; Weber, Shlomo; Weyers, Sheila
    Abstract: Books are an important factor of cultural transmission, but need, in most cases, to be translated. According to some authors, this may lead to a form of cultural domination, in particular of English, on other languages. All these papers ignore that the population speaking English as a first language is, with the exception of Mandarin, the largest in the world. It is therefore not surprising that English produces more fiction (and much more scientific literature, as scientists from all countries write more and more in English) than any other language. We develop a theoretical model of translation, which is estimated on the basis of UNESCO translation data. We show that translations from English are dominated by translations from other languages, including Scandinavian ones and French.
    Keywords: cultural and linguistic distances; languages; translations
    JEL: L82 Z11
    Date: 2007–08
  3. By: Jung, Hanjoon Michael
    Abstract: We model media manipulation in which a sender or senders manipulate information through the media to influence the decisions of receivers. We show that if there is only one sender and the receivers face a coordination problem without information about their opponents' types, the sender successfully influences the receivers to play the sender's favorite outcome by manipulating the information through the media, which makes the report common knowledge. This is true even when the sender and the receivers have contradictory preferences. This result extends to the cases in which the sender has imperfect information or in which the sender most values its credibility in reporting accurate information. In the case of multiple senders, however, if a sender receives a sufficient reward for reporting truthfully when others do not, all senders have incentives to report truthfully. Consequently, the receivers could play their favored outcome against the senders' preferences.
    Keywords: Arms Race; Common Knowledge; Information Transmission; Media Bias; Media Competition; Media Manipulation.
    JEL: D82 C72 D83
    Date: 2007–08

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