nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2019‒10‒14
five papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. The Origins of Creativity: The Case of the Arts in the United States since 1850 By Borowiecki, Karol Jan
  2. Facing disruption: the cinema value chain in the digital age By Elisa Salvador; Jean-Paul Simon; Pierre-Jean Benghozi
  3. Video Killed the Radio Star? Online Music Videos and Recorded Music Sales By Kretschmer, Tobias; Peukert, Christian
  4. Art Pricing with Computer Graphic Techniques By Lan Ju; Zhiyong Tu; Changyong Xue
  5. Social Mobility Explains Populism, Not Inequality or Culture By Eric S. M. Protzer

  1. By: Borowiecki, Karol Jan (Department of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: This research illuminates the historical development of creative activity in the United States. Census data is used to identify creative occupations (i.e., artists, musicians, authors, actors) and data on prominent creatives, as listed in a comprehensive biographical compendium. The analysis first sheds light on the socio-economic background of creative people and how it has changed since 1850. The results indicate that the proportion of female creatives is relatively high, time constraints can be a hindrance for taking up a creative occupation, racial inequality is present and tends to change only slowly, and access to financial resources within a family facilitates the uptake of an artistic occupation. Second, the study systematically documents and quantifies the geography of creative clusters in the United States and explains how these have evolved over time and across creative domains. Third, it investigates the importance of outstanding talent in a discipline for the local growth of an artistic cluster.
    Keywords: Creativity; artists; geographic clustering; agglomeration economies; urban history
    JEL: N33 R10 Z11
    Date: 2019–10–07
  2. By: Elisa Salvador (ESSCA - Groupe ESSCA); Jean-Paul Simon; Pierre-Jean Benghozi (PREG-CRG - Pole de recherche en économie et gestion - X - École polytechnique - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Kretschmer, Tobias; Peukert, Christian
    Abstract: We study the heterogeneous effects of online video platforms on the sales volume and sales distribution of recorded music. Identification comes from two natural experiments in Germany. In 2009, virtually all music videos were blocked from YouTube due to a legal dispute. In 2013, the dedicated platform VEVO entered the market, making videos of a large number of artists available overnight. Our estimates suggest that restricting (enabling) access to online videos decreases (increases) recorded music sales on average by about 5-10%. We show that the effect operates independently of the nature of video content, suggesting that user-generated content is as effective as official content. Moreover, we highlight heterogeneity in this effect: Online music video disproportionally benefits sales of new artists and sales of mainstream music.
    Keywords: Digital Distribution Platforms; Natural Experiment; User-generated content
    JEL: L15 L82
    Date: 2019–10
  4. By: Lan Ju; Zhiyong Tu; Changyong Xue
    Abstract: This paper makes the first attempt to introduce the tools from computer graphics into the art pricing research. We argue that the creation of a painting calls for a combination of conceptual effort and painting effort from the artist. However, as the important price determinants, both efforts are long missing in the traditional hedonic model because they are hard to measure. This paper draws on the digital pictures of auctioned paintings from various renowned artists, and applies the image recognition techniques to measure the variances of lines and colors of these paintings. We then use them as the proxies for the artist's painting effort, and include them in the hedonic regression to test their significance. Our results show that the variances of lines and colors of a painting can significantly positively explain the sales price in a general context. Our suggested measurements can better capture the content heterogeneity of paintings hence improving on the traditional art pricing methodology. Our approach also provides a quantitative perspective for both valuation and authentication of paintings.
    Date: 2019–10
  5. By: Eric S. M. Protzer (Center for Global Development)
    Abstract: What is driving contemporary populism, for example Brexit, Trump, the Gilets Jaunes, and Five-Star? Commonly-accepted answers are divided into two schools of thought, one economic and one cultural. The main explanation in the former camp is income inequality; those in the latter are social media-induced ideological polarization, unprecedented levels of immigration, and older generations reacting against millennial values. This paper exploits geographic variation in the incidence of populism to apply cross-sectional regression analysis to these arguments, and concludes that they are highly unconvincing. Instead, the thus-largely overlooked factor of social mobility is found to have far greater explanatory power. Four settings are analyzed: the 2016 US Presidential Election, the 2017 French Presidential Election, the 2019 European Parliament Elections, and the political stability of developed countries in 2018. The article contends that the decisiveness of social mobility as an explanatory variable for populism is plausibly rooted in universal human conceptions of fairness.
    Keywords: Inclusive Growth, Populism
    Date: 2019–09

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