nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2010‒07‒31
five papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University of the Piemonte Orientale

  1. The Market for Paintings in Baroque Venice By Federico Etro; Laura Pagani
  2. The Phantom of the Opera: Cultural Amenities, Human Capital, and Regional Economic Growth By Falck, Oliver; Fritsch, Michael; Heblich, Stephan
  3. Radio drug advertisement situation and regulation in Thailand By Tanattha Kittisopee; Puree Anantachoti; Viroj Tangcharoensathien
  4. The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religio By Scott Atran; Joseph Henrich
  5. Copyright and Open Access for Academic Works By Müller-Langer, Frank; Watt, Richard

  1. By: Federico Etro; Laura Pagani
    Abstract: We study the art market in the XVI-XVIII centuries with an econometric analysis of a new dataset on original contracts between patrons and artists for commissions of oil paintings of historical subject in the Venetian Republic. Size of paintings, reputation of the painters as perceived at the time, type of commissions and aggregate demand shocks (the plague) a¤ect prices as expected. We ?nd evidence of contractual solutions to moral hazard problems: since quality was not contractable, prices were made conditional on measurable features correlated with quality as the number of human ?gures. We also ?nd strong evidence of price equalization between high-demand and low-demand towns due to painters?mobility. Finally, we provide support for the Galenson hypothesis of a positive relation between age of experimental artists and quality as priced by the market. The results are con?rmed for other Italian art centres.
    Date: 2010–07
  2. By: Falck, Oliver (Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Fritsch, Michael (University of Jena); Heblich, Stephan (Max Planck Institute for Economics)
    Abstract: We analyze the extent to which endogenous cultural amenities affect the spatial equilibrium share of high-human-capital employees. To overcome endogeneity, we draw on a quasi-natural experiment in German history and exploit the exogenous spatial distribution of baroque opera houses built as a part of rulers' competition for prestigious cultural amenities. Robustness tests confirm our strategy and strengthen the finding that proximity to a baroque opera house significantly affects the spatial equilibrium share of high-human-capital employees. Then, a cross-region growth regression shows that these employees induce local knowledge spillovers and shift a location to a higher growth path.
    Keywords: cultural amenities, regional economic growth, human capital, Bohemians
    JEL: H41 R11 J24
    Date: 2010–07
  3. By: Tanattha Kittisopee; Puree Anantachoti; Viroj Tangcharoensathien
    Abstract: Drug consumption in Thailand is high in comparison with other countries. A key factor influencing this over consumption is advertising. Radio is the media that can easily reach a lot of people, in both urban and rural areas. Thai people typically practice self-care by purchasing drugs from a local pharmacy. They are often stimulated by drug advertisements. Past data have shown that there were many illegal drug advertisements. Consumer protection of this aspect seems to be poor. Better regulation or regulatory mechanisms are needed; therefore, this study reviews the current regulations and practices of drug advertising via radio in Thailand. [HEFP working paper 02/05]
    Keywords: Drug consumption, Radio, urban, rural areas, purchasing drugs, local pharmacy, advertising, radio, Thailand
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Scott Atran (IJN - Institut Jean-Nicod - CNRS : UMR8129 - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)); Joseph Henrich (Dept of Economics & Dept of Psychology - University of British Columbia)
    Abstract: Understanding religion requires explaining why supernatural beliefs, devotions, and rituals are both universal and variable across cultures, and why religion is so often associated with both large-scale cooperation and enduring group conflict. Emerging lines of research suggest that these oppositions result from the convergence of three processes. First, the interaction of certain reliably developing cognitive processes, such as our ability to infer the presence of intentional agents, favors—as an evolutionary by-product—the spread of certain kinds of counterintuitive concepts. Second, participation in rituals and devotions involving costly displays exploits various aspects of our evolved psychology to deepen people's commitment to both supernatural agents and religious communities. Third, competition among societies and organizations with different faith-based beliefs and practices has increasingly connected religion with both within-group prosociality and between-group enmity. This connection has strengthened dramatically in recent millennia, as part of the evolution of complex societies, and is important to understanding cooperation and conflict in today's world.
    Keywords: by-product hypothesis, credibility enhancing displays, cultural 40 transmission, cooperation, group competition, high gods,min
    Date: 2010
  5. By: Müller-Langer, Frank; Watt, Richard
    Abstract: In a recent paper, Prof. Steven Shavell (see Shavell, 2009) has argued strongly in favor of eliminating copyright from academic works. Based upon solid economic arguments, Shavell analyses the pros and cons of removal of copyright and in its place to have a pure open access system, in which authors (or more likely their employers) would provide the funds that keep journals in business. In this paper we explore some of the arguments in Shavell’s paper, above all the way in which the distribution of the sources of journal revenue would be altered, and the feasible effects upon the quality of journal content. We propose a slight modification to a pure open access system which may provide for the best of both the copyright and open access worlds.
    Keywords: Open Access; Academic Works; Effects of Removal of Copyrights
    JEL: I23 K19
    Date: 2010–06–24

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.