nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2013‒08‒31
three papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. "New" Cultural Diversity Policy in the Digital World: Net-neutrality regulation on bottleneck players (Japanese) By TOJO Yoshizumi
  2. Concept of Cultural Diversity in the Context of the WTO Agreement: Some thoughts on the treatment of content items and the relationship with the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity (Japanese) By KAWASE Tsuyoshi
  3. Optimal Pricing and Quality of Academic Journals and the Ambiguous Welfare Effects of Forced Open Access: A Two-sided Model By Mueller-Langer, Frank; Watt, Richard

  1. By: TOJO Yoshizumi
    Abstract: As cultural products become digitized and distributed in the Internet protocol (IP) broadband network, traditional cultural diversity regulations and their theoretical basis are being inevitably affected. In an emerging digital world, cultural products are produced, distributed, and consumed through the IP broadband network; an unlimited volume and variety of contents—cultural products as data—are proliferated with low cost; and users are empowered to "pull" together all of their selected contents and become active creators. In this environment, one of the most important regulatory interventions for cultural diversity should be competition policy measures to protect users' free and fair access to the broadband network and contents. <br />bWhile the net-neutrality principle could be a guiding principle in ensuring access rights of users by controlling the dominant players in the IP broadband network, any net-neutrality rule on platform players in the contents/application layers such as Google always has the risk of an over-inclusive regulation. Applying competition law on Google Search also requires careful analysis in determining market power and anticompetitive effect.
    Date: 2013–08
  2. By: KAWASE Tsuyoshi
    Abstract: Thus far, globalization has caused a cross-border diffusion of cultures, which could result in a homogeneous "global culture" (i.e., Americanization of culture). As a result, concern about the loss of diversity has become increasingly strong. In the face of such sense of crisis, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on Cultural Diversity (2005) confirmed the sovereign rights of the parties to take measures for the protection and promotion of cultural diversity, including those to protect and develop their domestic cultural industries. In effect, these measures include a great variety of national measures such as screen quota, subsidies, etc.<br />However, such measures accord essentially preferential treatment to domestic or specific countries' content items. They are therefore inevitably in conflict with international trade rules, especially the non-discrimination principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement (most-favored-nation (MFN) and national treatment principles). Nevertheless, both the WTO Agreement and Cultural Diversity Convention are not equipped with a sufficient mechanism for inter-regime adjustments. In addition, the general principles of interpretation and application of treaties in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties could hardly contribute to the reconciliation of these two agreements.<br />The government of Japan promotes "Cool Japan" as part of its growth strategy, known as the "third arrow" of Abenomics. It is therefore an urgent policy issue to facilitate the promotion of Japanese contents overseas through the "mega-regions," i.e., large-scale regional economic integrations, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). With this in mind, this article, focusing on the aspects of trade in content items as trade in goods, presents the current status of the conflicts between the principles of cultural diversity and free trade, and gives some suggestions for further discussion on the future of international trade rules in this context.
    Date: 2013–08
  3. By: Mueller-Langer, Frank; Watt, Richard
    Abstract: We analyse optimal pricing and quality of a monopolistic journal and the optimality of open access in a two-sided model. The predominant aspect of the model that determines the quality levels at which open access is optimal is the nature of the (non-linear) externalities between readers and authors in a journal. We show that there exist scenarios in which open access is a feature of high-quality journals. Besides, we find that the removal of copyright (and thus forced open access) will likely increase both readership and authorship, will decrease journal profits, and may increase social welfare.
    Keywords: Two-sided markets; academic journals; open access; removal of copyright; welfare effects
    JEL: L11 L82 O34
    Date: 2013–08–21

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