nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2017‒11‒05
five papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. What is the Value of Re-use? Complementarities in Popular Music By Jeremy Watson
  2. Can Television Reduce Xenophobia? The Case of East Germany By Lars Hornuf; Marc Oliver Rieger
  3. State-Endorsed Popular Culture: A Case Study of the North Korean Girl Band Moranbong By Tai Wei Lim
  4. Can Emerging Markets Tilt Global Product Design? Impacts of Chinese Colorism on Hollywood Castings By Hermosilla, Manuel; Gutierrez-Navratil, Fernanda; Prieto-Rodriguez, Juan
  5. Creativity over Time and Space By Michel Serafinelli; Guido Tabellini

  1. By: Jeremy Watson (Boston University Questrom School of Business, Department of Strategy and Innovation, 595 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215)
    Abstract: Digitization has drastically lowered the costs of replicating and distributing music, enabling piracy on the demand side, as well as supply side re-use and recontextualization. This paper examines cumulative creativity and re-use through the release of derivative works in the popular music industry. Combining novel data on "digital sampling" and cover songs with a new proprietary Spotify data-set tracking online music streaming, I study how the introduction of a derivative work impacts the market for the underlying good upon which it is based. With my data-set covering 11,682 artists and their daily streaming demand between 2015 and 2016, I utilize a matched-sample difference-in-differences estimator to find that, on average, re-use causes a 3% increase in demand for the treated artists. This effect is significantly mediated by prominence -- with the effect neutralized for highly prominent artists, while artists of low prominence have a larger 6% boost in listening. Novel re-uses of artists that have not been subject to extensive past re-use appear to have the largest effect, resulting in an average 15% increase in online streaming. These results highlight an advertising effect of re-use, suggest that derivative works have limited ex post competition with upstream works, and point toward the potential benefits of permissive intellectual property rights licensing.
    Keywords: copyright, intellectual property, digitization, cumulative innovation, technology strategy, content industries
    JEL: L24 O31 O34
    Date: 2017–10
  2. By: Lars Hornuf; Marc Oliver Rieger
    Abstract: Can television have a mitigating effect on xenophobia? To examine this question, we exploit the fact that individuals in some areas of East Germany – due to their geographic location – could not receive West German television until 1989. We conjecture that individuals who received West German television were exposed more frequently to foreigners and thus have developed less xenophobia than people who were not exposed to those programs. Our results show that regions that could receive West German television were less likely to vote for right-wing parties during the national elections from 1998 to 2013. Only recently, the same regions were also more likely to vote for left-wing parties. Moreover, while counties that hosted more foreigners in 1989 were also more likely to vote for right-wing parties in most elections, we find counties that recently hosted more foreign visitors showed less xenophobia, which is in line with intergroup contact theory.
    Keywords: mass media, television, xenophobia, attitudes towards foreigners, East Germany, natural experiment
    JEL: D72 L82 P30
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Tai Wei Lim
    Abstract: This article examines the emergence of Moranbong as a new popular cultural phenomenon in North Korea. I am interested to examine the patron–client relationship in North Korea by analysing the personal patronage extended by North Korean autocrat Kim Jong-un to the all-female pop band Moranbong. In return for propaganda performances to convey images of material well-being of the regime and extolling the virtues of the ultimate leader, the autocratic regime bestows social recognition, legitimacy and fame to Moranbong members as a reward. Through an analysis of patron–client relationship in the North Korean political system, I move on to examine the ideological contents of Moranbong and the propaganda value-add they bring to the North Korean political system. Here, interpretations of Moranbong's symbolisms by both internal and external audiences are examined based on media reports and other writings that originated from both Korean and international sources.
    Keywords: Korea, popular culture, Moranbong
  4. By: Hermosilla, Manuel; Gutierrez-Navratil, Fernanda; Prieto-Rodriguez, Juan
    Abstract: In various cultural and behavioral respects, emerging market consumers differ significantly from their counterparts of developed markets. They may thus derive consumption utility from different aspects of product meaning and functionality. Based on this premise, we investigate whether the economic rise of emerging markets may have begun to impact the typical “one-size-fits-all” design of many international product categories. Focusing on Hollywood films, and exploiting a recent relaxation of China’s foreign film importation policy, we provide evidence suggesting that these impacts may exist and be non-negligible. In particular, we show that the Chinese society’s aesthetic preference for lighter skin can be linked to the more frequent casting of pale-skinned stars in films targeting the Chinese market. Implications for the design of international products are drawn.
    Keywords: Emerging Markets, Hollywood, Culture, Product Design, Innovation, Skin Color
    JEL: L7 L70 M3 M31 O3 O30 Z1 Z11
    Date: 2017–09–30
  5. By: Michel Serafinelli; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: Creativity is often highly concentrated in time and space, and across different domains. What explains the formation and decay of clusters of creativity? In this paper we match data on thousands of notable individuals born in Europe between the XIth and the XIXth century with historical data on city institutions and population. After documenting several stylized facts, we show that the formation of creative clusters is not preceded by increases in city size. Instead, the emergence of city institutions protecting economic and political freedoms facilitates the attraction and production of creative talent. Keywords: innovation, agglomeration, political institutions, immigration, gravity. JEL: R10, O10, J61, N13
    Date: 2017

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