nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2012‒07‒14
five papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. The Price of Media Capture and the Looting of Newspapers in Interwar France By Bignon, Vincent; Flandreau, Marc
  2. Institutional Change and Information Production By Fabio Landini
  3. Subsidising network technology adoption the case of publishers and E-readers By Matttia De' Grassi Di Pianura
  4. At the eye of the cyclone: the Greek crisis in global media By Antoniades, Andreas
  5. Religious orders and growth through cultural change in pre-industrial England By Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck; Bentzen, Jeanet; Dalgaard, Carl-Johan; Sharp, Paul

  1. By: Bignon, Vincent; Flandreau, Marc
    Abstract: This paper develops a new insight enabling the empirical study of media capture: minority shareholders of newspapers and readers face similar risks. Both are adversely affected when corrupt insiders use the newspaper for personal profit and receive invisible revenues. This means that relevant data on influence and exploitation of newspaper has been hiding in plain sight in stock exchange or over-the-counter prices, since stock transactions reflect the value of this capture. Empirical data is consistent with increasing levels of looting in France during the 1930s. We provide a comparison with Britain and argue that Britain managed to protect its newspapers better.
    Keywords: control premium; corruption; France; governance; Interwar; Media; minority shareholders
    JEL: D72 G34 L82 N24 N74
    Date: 2012–06
  2. By: Fabio Landini
    Abstract: The organization of information production is undergoing a deep transformation. Alongside media corporations, which have been for long time the predominant institutions of information production, new organizational forms have emerged, e.g. free software communities, open-content on-line wikis, collective blogs, distributed platforms for resource sharing. The paper investigates the factors that favoured the emergence of these alternative systems, called peer production. Differently from most of the previous literature, the paper does so by considering technology (i.e. digital code) as an endogenous variable in the process of organizational design. On this basis the paper argues that the diffusion of digital technology is a necessary but not sufficient condition to explain the emergence of peer production. A similarly important role has been played by the specific set of ethics that motivated the early adherents to the free software movement. Such an ethics indeed operated as a sort of “cultural subsidy” that helped to overcome the complementarities existing among distinct institutional domains, and let a new organizational species to emerge.
    Keywords: peer production, organizational equilibria, institutional complementarities, transaction costs
    JEL: B52 D23 K20 L17 O34
    Date: 2012–07
  3. By: Matttia De' Grassi Di Pianura (CERNA - Centre d'économie industrielle - Mines ParisTech)
    Abstract: To market a new network technology effectively, manufacturers need to understand the structure and size of network effects associated with the product. If consumers' surplus from adoption depends positively on the number of interconnections in the network, early adopters may need to be subsidized until a critical mass is reached. Moreover, in a two-sided market where platforms and complementary contents are constrained to non-negative prices, subsidies can be provided both by platform manufacturers and byproducers of complementary contents. The article presents a model to analyse adoption dynamics with different subsidies and different stand-alone values for technology. The model shows that if the standalone value of technology is limited, subsidies from complementary contents producers may be pivotal to reach the critical mass. Moreover, under given conditions, this type of subsidies can lead to a more efficient adoption, increasing social welfare. In this case, assuming a monopolist platform manufacturer of the technology, complete contracts are needed to reach the Pareto optimal equilibrium.
    Keywords: two-sided markets; network effects; technology adoption; copyright; vertical relations; media economics
    Date: 2012–06–11
  4. By: Antoniades, Andreas
    Abstract: Using discourse analysis, this paper offers an in-depth investigation of the discourse of key European and international newspapers on the Greek economic crisis. The aim is to analyse the way in which the issue of Greek economic crisis emerged in the public discourse of different countries and global regions, as well as to assess the impact that this process had on how Greece is viewed ‘from the outside’. The findings point to the generation and consolidation of very negative attitudes towards Greece. During the 14-month period of examination, Greece evolves from an ‘object of critique’ to a ‘negative reference point’. In some sense, Greece is (re)constructed in the international press as the (corrupted) other of the (rational) western society.
    Keywords: Greece; Greek economic crisis; Europe; debt crisis; international press
    JEL: Z1 O5 F5 D8
    Date: 2012–06
  5. By: Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck (Department of Business and Economics); Bentzen, Jeanet (Department of Economics); Dalgaard, Carl-Johan (Department of Economics); Sharp, Paul (Department of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: We hypothesize that cultural appreciation of hard work and thrift, the "Protestant ethic" according to Max Weber, had a pre-Reformation origin. The proximate source of these values was, according to the proposed theory, the Catholic Order of Cistercians. In support, we document that the Cistercians influenced comparative regional development across English counties, even after the monasteries were dissolved in the 1530s. Moreover, we find that the values emphasized by Weber are comparatively more pervasive in regions where Cistercian monasteries were found historically. Pre-industrial development in England may thus have been propelled by a process of growth through cultural change.
    Keywords: Cultural values; protestant ethic; economic development
    JEL: N13 O11 Z12
    Date: 2012–07–03

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