nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2013‒07‒15
four papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. Rock and roll bands, (in)complete contracts, and creativity By CEULEMANS, Cédric; GINSBURG, Victor A.; LEGROS, Patrick
  2. Experts’ Awards and Economic Success: Evidence from an Italian Literary Prize By Michela Ponzo; Vincenzo Scoppa
  3. The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants By David Atkin
  4. Can Social Media Predict Election Results? Evidence from New Zealand By Michael P. Cameron; Patrick Barrett; Bob Stewardson

  1. By: CEULEMANS, Cédric; GINSBURG, Victor A.; LEGROS, Patrick
  2. By: Michela Ponzo (University of Naples and CSEF); Vincenzo Scoppa (University of Calabria and IZA)
    Abstract: Product quality is often unobservable ex-ante and consumers rely on experts’ judgments, sometimes coming under the form of ratings or awards. Do awards affect consumers’ choices or they are conferred to the most popular products? To disentangle this issue, we use data of the most important Italian Literary Prize, the “Strega Prize”, undertaking two different estimation strategies to evaluate the impact on book sales of being awarded the Prize. First, we adopt a Regression Discontinuity Design using as dependent variable a measure of book sales and as forcing variable (proxying for intrinsic book quality) the jury votes received by each nominated book in the competition. We find a very strong impact of the Strega Prize on sales. Second, using weekly data on appearances in bestseller lists, we estimate a difference-in-differences model, comparing sales performance of treated and control books before the award is conferred with their respective performance afterwards. The results confirm a huge influence of the Prize on book sales and show that most of the impact occurs in the weeks following the announcement.
    Keywords: Cultural Economics; Awards; Literary Prize; Book Sales; Product Quality; Regression Discontinuity Design; Difference-in-Differences model.
    JEL: Z10 Z11 L15 L80 M30 D12
    Date: 2013–06–27
  3. By: David Atkin
    Abstract: Anthropologists have long documented substantial and persistent differences across social groups in the preferences and taboos for particular foods. One natural question to ask is whether such food cultures matter in an economic sense. In particular, can culture constrain caloric intake and contribute to malnutrition? To answer this question, I first document that inter-state migrants within India consume fewer calories per Rupee of food expenditure compared to their non-migrant neighbors, even for households with very low caloric intake. I then form a chain of evidence in support of an explanation based on culture: that migrants make nutritionally-suboptimal food choices due to cultural preferences for the traditional foods of their origin states. First, I focus on the preferences themselves and document that migrants bring their origin-state food preferences with them when they migrate. Second, I link together the findings on caloric intake and preferences by showing that the gap in caloric intake between locals and migrants is related to the suitability and intensity of the migrants' origin-state food preferences: the most adversely affected migrants (households in which both husband and wife migrated to a village where their origin-state preferences are unsuited to the local price vector) would consume 7 percent more calories if they possessed the same preferences as their neighbors.
    JEL: D12 I10 O10 Z10
    Date: 2013–07
  4. By: Michael P. Cameron (University of Waikato); Patrick Barrett (University of Waikato); Bob Stewardson (University of Waikato)
    Abstract: The importance of social media for election campaigning has received a lot of attention recently. Using data from the 2011 New Zealand General Election and the size of candidates’ social media networks on Facebook and Twitter, we investigate whether social media is associated with election votes and probability of election success. Overall, our results suggest that there is a statistically significant relationship between the size of online social networks and election voting and election results. However, the size of the effect is small and it appears that social media presence will therefore only make a difference in closely contested elections.
    Keywords: social media; elections; voting; New Zealand
    JEL: D72 L82
    Date: 2013–05–31

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