nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2010‒07‒17
four papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University of the Piemonte Orientale

  1. Models By Maria Saez Marti
  2. Cultural Leaders and the Clash of Civilizations By Esther Hauk; Hannes Mueller
  3. Copyright and brands in the digital age By Olivier Bomsel
  4. Fair value on commons-based intellectual property assets: Lessons of an estimation over Linux kernel. By García-García, Jesús; Alonso de Magdaleno, María Isabel

  1. By: Maria Saez Marti
    Abstract: I construct a theory of cultural transmission in which culture acquisition takes place in two stages, first in the family where parents transmit their own culture, and later in society where children are exposed to a wider set of cultural models. The role of models is to provide information about alternatives. Cultural variants differ in how strongly they are transmitted in the family and on how attractive they are to the children’s eyes. Attractiveness may depend on the actual models one can observe. I characterise the long run distribution of variants using directed trees and show that more visible cultural variants will have larger shares. Shares are also increasing in attractiveness and in family strength. When attractiveness is not context specific, variants competing with a wider set of variants, everything else equal, will have larger shares provided that copying is bidirectional. Expanding the set of models does not necessarily lead to an increase in shares.
    Keywords: Cultural transmission, role models, learning
    JEL: D10 I20 J13
    Date: 2010–07
  2. By: Esther Hauk; Hannes Mueller
    Abstract: This article builds a micro founded model of the clash of cultures. The clash is defined as the parent's fear of a trait change by their child in an overlapping generations model with intergenerational transmission of cultural traits. The extent of the clash is manipulated by cultural leaders who benefit from the cultural education effort by parents. We identify three channels through which the leaders can affect the clash of cultures: (i) by providing beneficial cultural values, (ii) by claims of cultural superiority and (iii) by cultural alienation, i.e. by inducing cultural dislike towards their own group. We show that all three channels can be in the leader's interest but channels (ii) and (iii) reduce the utility of the leader's goup members. This hints to a strong conflict of interest within groups - between the population at large and the benefactors of radicalization. We further show how the use of alienation relates to the economic opportunities available to a group.
    Date: 2010–07–12
  3. By: Olivier Bomsel (CERNA - Centre d'économie industrielle - Mines ParisTech)
    Abstract: The adoption of binary code as the universal standard for globalized communications generates highly positive externalities often referred to as network effects. But what about meaning? What are the externalities associated with the formatting and circulation of meaning, and are they, too,all positive? Within the digital paradigm, is it really possible to separate the notion of expression — covered by copyright — from the meanings it creates? Isn't meaning heavily dependent on the concept of brand? And if so, how do copyright and trademark institutions work together to stimulate and promote meaningful information? To answer these questions, we will look at how the meaningful forms of expression — the works — that have historically been covered by copyright generate specific types of externality, both positive and negative, giving rise to both incentive and censorship mechanisms. We will then show how the institutions of copyright and author's rights that allow the appropriation of a meaningful good also confer a brand on it, identifying its sources. This leads to mixed externalities from both directions, with the result that copyright and trademark institutions cannot be fully separated from each other.
    Keywords: copyright; brand; Intellectual Property; trademark law; media economics
    Date: 2010
  4. By: García-García, Jesús; Alonso de Magdaleno, María Isabel
    Abstract: Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials, spreading development burden amongst individuals and companies. This model has resulted in a large and efficient ecosystem and unheralded software innovation, freely available to society. Open source methods are also increasingly being applied in other fields of endeavour, such as biotechnology or cultural production. But under financial reporting framework, general volunteer activity is not reflected on financial statements. As a result, there is not value of volunteer contributions and there is also no single source for cost estimates of how much it has taken to develop an open source technology. This volunteer activity encloses not only individuals but corporations developing and contributing open source products. Standard methodology for reporting open source asset valuation is needed and must include value creation from the perspective of the different stakeholders.
    Keywords: FLOSS; commons; accounting standards; financial reporting
    JEL: M14 G34 M4
    Date: 2010–06–08

This nep-cul issue is ©2010 by Roberto Zanola. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.