nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2009‒12‒19
six papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University of the Piemonte Orientale

  1. Trade Openness and Culture By Christopher Coyne; Claudia Williamson
  2. Dynamic Models of Arts Labor Supply By Popovic, Milenko
  3. Markets and linguistic diversity By Caminal, Ramon
  4. The Value of Native Bird Conservation: A New Zealand Case Study By Pamela Kaval; Matthew Roskruge
  5. On the Problem of Economic Power: Lessons from the Natural History of the Hawaiian Archipelago By Funk, Matt
  6. Beyond Borders: Is Media Freedom Contagious? By Russell S. Sobel; Nabamita Dutta; Sanjukta Roy

  1. By: Christopher Coyne (Department of Economics, West Virginia University); Claudia Williamson (Department of Economics, New York University)
    Abstract: This paper empirically analyzes the effect of trade openness on culture, measured by indicators of trust, respect for others, perceived level of self-determination, and level of obedience. These cultural categories play a central role in encouraging or limiting economic and social interactions and therefore impact economic outcomes. We find that trade openness has a positive and highly significant impact on culture. The more open a country is to trade, the more likely it is to possess culture conducive to increased social and economic interactions. This result is robust to the inclusion of a variety of control variables, different model specifications, and alternative trade measures.
    Keywords: culture, informal institutions, trade openness
    JEL: F15 O10 P50 Z1
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Popovic, Milenko
    Abstract: In this paper two dynamic models of an artist’s behavior and arts labor supply have been developed. Both are based on a household production function approach and on the assumption that artists are multiple-job-holders. In the first model proposed here an artist is depicted as someone who is hired on the arts labor market and paid for his artistic time. In the second model an artist is described as someone who sells his products, like paintings for instance, on the market for artistic products. In order to make these models dynamic, an artist’s productivity is here supposed to be a function of accumulated human capital of the artist. Following the results of existing empirical research, previous experience and previous artistic practice are supposed to be the most important form of human capital accumulation. Once the analysis is expanded to capture this kind of the artist’s human capital accumulation, the supply of labor in the arts market appears as the result of an inter-temporal process of resources allocation. Both models end with the same result: the cost of producing a unit of an artistic commodity in a particular year should be equal to the sum of current monetary benefits, current nonmonetary benefits, a stream of future monetary benefits, and a stream of future nonmonetary benefits generated by production of a given artistic unit. This result appears to be pretty suitable for formalization of several existing hypotheses aimed at explaining arts labor market peculiarities. Especially, by referring to the stream of expected nonmonetary benefits, models developed here are able to formalize the most promising among these hypotheses according to which an artist’s need for self-discovery and self-actualization is the driving force in explaining the oversupply of arts labor.
    Keywords: arts; household production function; allocation of time; expected benefits
    JEL: J31 J22 J24 Z11
    Date: 2009–09–02
  3. By: Caminal, Ramon
    Abstract: Producers of cultural goods and media products can only make their specific contents available to their audiences and readerships through a particular language. The choice of language is a trivial decision if consumers are monolingual. However, the fraction of bilingual consumers is high in some areas and rising everywhere because of the rapid expansion of English as a second language. In this paper I argue that, independently of the gains associated with the use of a lingua franca, the very existence of bilingual consumers may seriously bias market outcomes against minority languages. In particular, I show that the level of linguistic diversity determined by profit maximizing firms tends to be inefficiently low, except when and where the cost of producing a second linguistic version becomes sufficiently low. Thus, the model provides an efficiency argument supporting policies that protect minority languages in these markets.
    Keywords: language; product variety; translation
    JEL: D43 L13 L82
    Date: 2009–12
  4. By: Pamela Kaval (University of Waikato); Matthew Roskruge (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: During December 2007 and January 2008, telephone surveys were used to randomly sample Waikato, New Zealand residents. The purpose of the surveys was to determine whether respondents valued native bird conservation programmes in their area. We elicited the contingent valuation approach to determine the value in terms of their willingness-to-pay (WTP) to support regional conservation initiatives aimed at protecting, or restoring, native bird populations. Results indicated that local birdlife was regarded positively by residents and that they were in favour of local conservation and restoration initiatives. 86% of respondents were willing-to-pay an annual addition to their rates (taxes) to support these initiatives. Conservatively, the value of native bird conservation in the region was approximately $13 million (2008 NZ$). Willingness to support these initiatives depended strongly on income, ethnicity and age. The positive WTP for additional regional rates for local birdlife conservation suggests that there could potentially be an underinvestment in birdlife conservation in the Waikato region, and that regional bodies could draw upon local funding, as opposed to relying on central government funding, to support these initiatives.
    Keywords: contingent valuation method; endangered species; New Zealand; native birdlife; bird conservation
    JEL: Q51 Q57 Q26
    Date: 2009–11–15
  5. By: Funk, Matt
    Abstract: One of the greatest logicians of the twentieth century, Bertrand Russell, proposed that Economic power, unlike military power, is not primary, but derivative. Curiously, this conjecture has received scarce attention. This paper explores this theory. Our illustrative discourse tests this overlooked theory in the light of evolution: We model Homo evolution by sampling the past ≈1000 years of cultural evolution in the Hawaiian archipelago. Our analysis concludes Russell's theory is true.
    Keywords: economic power; military power; evolutionary game theory; cultural evolution; resource holding power; long-distance dispersal; Second Amendment; Kamehameha; Hawaii; sovereignty; annexation
    JEL: Z10 C93 N40
    Date: 2009–12–15
  6. By: Russell S. Sobel (Department of Economics, West Virginia University); Nabamita Dutta (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse); Sanjukta Roy (Department of Economics, West Virginia University)
    Abstract: Previous literature stresses the importance of free media for economic development. By its nature TV, radio, and newspapers cross borders, allowing citizens to easily sample media from neighboring countries. This creates pressure for domestic reform and spreads media freedom between countries. Using spatial econometric techniques, and a sample of 102 countries, we test for the presence of geographic spillovers in media freedom. We find that a country’s level of media freedom significantly depends on its neighbors. Countries ‘catch’ approximately 20 percent of their media freedom from neighboring countries. Our results are robust to alternative specifications and measures of press freedom.
    Keywords: Media Freedom; Contagion; Domino Effect
    JEL: C2 L82 O12
    Date: 2009

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