nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2010‒03‒13
five papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University of the Piemonte Orientale

  1. Evolutionary theories of cultural change. By Wenseleers, Tom; Dewitte, Siegfried; De Block, Andreas
  2. Culture revisited - a geographic analysis of fertility decline in Prussia By Joshua R. Goldstein; Sebastian Klüsener
  3. The Economic Returns to the Knowledge and Use of a Second Official Language: English in Quebec and French in the Rest-of-Canada By Louis N. Christofides and Robert Swidinsky
  4. Stars War in French Gastronomy: Prestige of Restaurants and Chefs’ Careers By Gergaud, Olivier; Smeets, Valérie; Warzynski, Frédéric
  5. In the beginning was the Word. Now is the Copyright By Marchese, Carla; Ramello, Giovanni B.

  1. By: Wenseleers, Tom; Dewitte, Siegfried; De Block, Andreas
    Abstract: Over the last decades, many scholars have hinted at the possibility of a grand evolutionary synthesis, which would revolutionize the social sciences by bringing genetic and cultural evolution under a common umbrella. Yet, the many perceived idiosyncrasies of cultural evolution have long posed an obstacle for such an interdisciplinary synthesis. New discoveries in biology as well as recent developments in theoretical evolutionary biology, however, show that the alleged differences between genetic and cultural evolution may be smaller than previously suspected. In addition, important applications of cultural evolution theory have started to appear in diverse fields within the social sciences. A general evolutionary theory of cultural change, therefore, finally seems to be within reach.
    Keywords: cultural evolution;
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Joshua R. Goldstein (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Sebastian Klüsener (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: In this paper, we re-introduce geography into the analysis of fertility decline in the first demographic transition in Europe. We reanalyze Galloway et al.'s (1994) Prussian data, fitting structural models similar to those of Galloway et al. to the data and to map the residuals. Our findings give evidence both of the predictive effect of economic as well as cultural variables. However, although testing different non-spatial model specifications, a significant unexplained geographic clustering of fertility decline always remains. Indeed, adjacency to an area of large fertility decline and location along communication and transport corridors seem to be important predictors of fertility decline beyond what one would expect from structural models. This gives support to the cultural diffusion hypothesis of the Princeton European Fertility Project.
    Keywords: German Empire, culture, diffusion of innovations, economics, fertility decline, spatial analysis
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2010–02
  3. By: Louis N. Christofides and Robert Swidinsky
    Abstract: In a country with two official languages, such as Canada, the demand for bilingualism may lead individuals born with one mother tongue to acquire the second official language. Knowledge of an additional official language may be associated with enhanced earnings for two reasons; its actual value in the workplace, or its value as a screening mechanism for ability. Previously available data did not indicate whether bilingual language skills were actually being used at work. However, the 2001 Census reports, for the first time, the primary and the secondary languages that an individual uses at work. Conditioning on both language knowledge and language use allow us to estimate the additional earnings that can be attributed to the use of a second official language. We find very substantial, statistically significant, rewards to second official use in Quebec and much smaller, not statistically significant, effects in the Rest-of-Canada.
    Keywords: Wages, language knowledge, language use
    Date: 2010–02
  4. By: Gergaud, Olivier; Smeets, Valérie; Warzynski, Frédéric
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the careers from a sample of more than 1,000 top French chefs over more than twenty years and link it to the success or reputation of the restaurants where they have worked. This allows us to test what are the determinants of success but also to investigate the dynamics of performance and reputation, stressing the importance of the quality of apprenticeships, mentoring and entrepreneurship spirit. We find that the prestige of the restaurant where individuals work is on average declining along the career, and that the quality of apprenticeship is strongly related to the future success as chef. We also find that prices of restaurants with higher reputation are more sensitive to bad signals.
    Keywords: reputation; careeers; gastronomy
    JEL: D83 J24 L15 M50
    Date: 2010–02
  5. By: Marchese, Carla; Ramello, Giovanni B.
    Abstract: Since 2005 all Roman Pope's teaching is copyrighted. As the tenet of the Catholic Church is that of spreading the faith and teaching all the people, this seems at odds with any restriction of access. The Catholic Church, however, does not represent an exception, since the copyright is applied also in other religions. In this paper a simple model is presented in order to assess the possibility of rationalizing the exercize of the copyright by a religious organization. The analysis provides also more general indications about the working of the copyright, which seems to function more alike the right of drawing a tax than the right of setting a monopoly price, as currently thought.
    Keywords: copyright, religion, royalties, taxation
    JEL: D23 D43 D45
    Date: 2010–01

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