nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2017‒02‒19
four papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Re-engineer cultural “DNA” of an innovation in the process of adoption and diffusion: In the lens of adopters of an eco-innovation in Honghe UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yunnan China By Chan, Jin; Zhang, Ying; Coles, Anne-Marie; Qi, Xiaoguang
  2. Catch Me if You Can: Effectiveness and Consequences of Online Copyright Enforcement By Peukert, Christian; Aguiar, Luis; Claussen, Jörg
  3. Culture and Financial Literacy By Brown, Martin; Henchoz, Caroline; Spycher, Thomas
  4. Cultural Superstitions and Residential Real Estate Prices: Transaction-level Evidence from the US Housing Market By Brad R. Humphreys; Adam Nowak; Yang Zhou

  1. By: Chan, Jin; Zhang, Ying; Coles, Anne-Marie; Qi, Xiaoguang
    Abstract: This presentation will report on a project, which investigated a research gap in the theory of technology diffusion regarding the influence of socio-cultural and religious factors in adoption processes. The project was concerned with identifying local factors influencing the uptake of solar water heating systems in the Yuanyang Hani Rice Terrace community, an ethnic minority from Yunnan, China. The rice terraces are located in a remote, mountainous part of South Western China where the tourism industry has been rapidly developing following its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site in June 2013. For this community, the solar water heating system can be considered as a culturally foreign product, an eco-innovation designed and manufactured in China but carrying supposedly foreign concepts (primarily European-American origin such as sustainable development and climate change). Fieldwork data was collected through semi-structural interviews and observations. In addition, photographs were taken as well as observations and unrecorded discussions in order to provide a better understanding of the site and dynamics in the community. In this process of innovation adoption and diffusion, the convention agents such as government officers, opinion leaders and commercial entities do play a key role. Other than providing financial incentives government, the role to promote and systematically encourage adoption was instrumental in the acceptance of new technology. The role of opinion leaders, nonetheless, is to provide legitimacy to the use of the technology through new interpretation of or connection with the traditional culture and religious values. But we have also observed significant contribution of a key agent i.e. the returning residents who worked as migrant workers in the city. They are the carriers of new technology but also the agents of cultural change. We conclude that the cultural “DNA” of an innovation inherited from its creator would be re-engineered, in the sense of re-interpreted and adapted, in the process of adoption by a community. The modified cultural “DNA” could reflect partly the cultural and religious features of both the source and the host.
    Keywords: Innovation; adoption; domestication; China
    Date: 2016–06–16
  2. By: Peukert, Christian; Aguiar, Luis; Claussen, Jörg
    Abstract: Taking down copyright-infringing websites is a way to reduce consumption of pirated media content and increase licensed consumption. We analyze the consequences of the shutdown of the most popular German video streaming website - - in June 2011. Using individual-level clickstream data, we find that the shutdown led to significant but short-lived declines in piracy levels. The existence of alternative sources of unlicensed consumption, coupled with the rapid emergence of new platforms, led the streaming piracy market to quickly recover from the intervention and to limited substitution into licensed consumption. Our results therefore present evidence of a high elasticity of supply in the online movie piracy market, together with relatively low switching costs for users of copyright infringing platforms. The fact that the post-shutdown market structure was much more fragmented - and therefore more resistant to future interventions - further questions the effectiveness of the intervention.
    JEL: L82 K42 L11
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Brown, Martin; Henchoz, Caroline; Spycher, Thomas
    Abstract: We study the effect of culture on financial literacy by comparing secondary-school students along the German-French language border within Switzerland. We find that students in the French-speaking area have a lower level of financial literacy than students in the German-speaking area. The difference in financial literacy across the language groups is stronger among native students than among immigrant students. A mediation analysis suggests that the cultural divide in financial literacy is mainly related to systematic differences in financial socialisation across the language groups. Students in the German speaking region are more likely to receive pocket money at an early age and are more likely to have independent access to a bank account.
    Keywords: Culture, Financial Literacy, Financial Socialisation
    JEL: D03 D14 Z1
    Date: 2017–02
  4. By: Brad R. Humphreys (West Virginia University, Department of Economics); Adam Nowak (West Virginia University, Department of Economics); Yang Zhou (West Virginia University, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: In Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered lucky and 4 is considered unlucky. We analyze the relationship between the presence of 8s and 4s in addresses and transaction prices paid by Chinese home buyers and sellers in a novel setting, Seattle, Washington, from 1990 to 2015. In the absence of explicit identifiers for Chinese individuals, we develop a probabilistic model for identifying ethnicity based on name alone. The results indicate Chinese buyers pay a 1-2% premium for addresses that include an 8 and 1% less for properties with a 4 in the address. These results are not related to unobserved property quality as there is no premium when Chinese sell properties with an 8 in the address. These results suggest that some Chinese home buyers in Seattle retain their Chinese cultural superstitions.
    Keywords: Superstition; property value; supervised learning; hedonic price model
    JEL: D03 R21 R30
    Date: 2016–12

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