nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2018‒02‒12
four papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Effects of Copyrights on Science - Evidence from the US Book Republication Program By Barbara Biasi; Petra Moser
  2. Folosirea inovaţiilor tehnologice pentru creşterea accesibilității şi atractivităţii patrimoniului muzeal By Pop, Izabela Luiza; Alexa, Tiberiu
  3. Competition and the public interest in the digital market for information By Lombardi, Claudio
  4. Natural Resources and Political Patronage in Africa: An Ethnicity Level Analysis By Nemera Mamo; Sambit Bhattacharyya

  1. By: Barbara Biasi; Petra Moser
    Abstract: Copyrights for books, news, and other types of media are a critical mechanism to encourage creativity and innovation. Yet economic analyses continue to be rare, partly due to a lack of experimental variation in modern copyright laws. This paper exploits a change in copyright laws as a result of World War II to examine the effects of copyrights on science. In 1943, the US Book Republication Program (BRP) granted US publishers temporary licenses to republish the exact content of German-owned science books. Using new data on citations, we find that this program triggered a large increase in citations to German-owned science books. This increase was driven by a significant reduction in access costs: Each 10 percent decline in the price of BRP book was associated with a 43 percent increase in citations. To investigate the mechanism by which lower book prices influence science, we collect data on library holdings across the United States. We find that lower prices helped to distribute BRP books across US libraries, including less affluent institutions. Analyses of the locations of citing authors further indicate that citations increased most for locations that gained access to BRP books. Results are confirmed by two alternative measures of scientific output: new PhDs and US patents that use knowledge in BRP books.
    JEL: L82 N34 N42 O15 O34 O38 O43
    Date: 2018–01
  2. By: Pop, Izabela Luiza; Alexa, Tiberiu
    Abstract: Technological development and changes in consumer desires and preferences are external factors uncontrollable by a museum but which have a great influence on its public success. Depending on the attitude and measures taken by a museum, these factors may represent an opportunity or, conversely, a threat, and finally they can become either a strength or a weakness of the museum. Based on these considerations, the purpose of this article is to highlight some practical ways in which museums can use technological innovation in order to gain a competitive advantage. In the first part, the paper presents a series of modern technologies applied in museums that allow them to become more attractive and to better fulfill their functions of storage, conservation, research, and exploitation of the heritage. The second part presents a study conducted at County Museum of Art «Baia Mare Artistic Centre» regarding the measures taken for heritage digitization and, starting from this, for increasing the public access to the museum’s collections.
    Keywords: innovation; technology; museums; heritage; digitization; distribution; visitors; experience; virtual reality
    JEL: M00
    Date: 2016–11
  3. By: Lombardi, Claudio
    Abstract: Our behaviour on the internet is continuously monitored and processed through the elaboration of big data. Complex algorithms categorize our choices and personalise our online environment, which is used to propose, inter alia, bespoke news and information. It is in this context, that the competition between sources of information in the "market for ideas", takes place. While these mechanisms bring efficiency benefits, they also have severe downsides that only very recently we have begun to uncover. These drawbacks regard not only deadweight losses caused by market distortions, but also public policy issues, in particular in case of politically relevant news. What are the public and private interest concerns impacted by this practice? Can this algorithm-driven selection of news be captured by competition laws? The digital news market, as constructed around online advertising, presents peculiarities which necessitate a reframing of standard approaches to traditional information markets, and of the creation and distribution of ideas.
    Keywords: competition law,antitrust,marketplace of ideas,online behavioural targeting,public interest,post-truth society,fake news,online environment
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Nemera Mamo (Department of Economics, University of Sussex; SOAS, University of London); Sambit Bhattacharyya (Department of Economics, University of Sussex)
    Abstract: We investigate the effect of resource discoveries on ethnicity level political patronage in Africa using a large geospatial dataset of 254 ethnic groups in 15 countries over the period 1960 to 2004. We find that the first (or single first) resource discovery in a virgin ethnic homeland increases the share of cabinet posts of that ethnicity. The effect is induced by both expectations and rent. Overall the effect is mainly driven by major mineral discoveries as opposed to oil and gas. The discovery shocks do not trigger monopoly or dominant access to power, autonomy, separatism, and exclusion. Our analysis reveals that point source resource (mineral) rents are far more important political currency than diffuse agricultural commodity rents. Furthermore, by ranking ministries into Top and Bottom levels we find some evidence of window dressing politics. Our results survive a battery of robustness tests and controls.
    Keywords: Resource discovery; Political Patronage; Africa
    JEL: D72 O11
    Date: 2018–01

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