nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2019‒11‒18
five papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. A Theory of Cultural Revivals By Murat Iyigun; Jared Rubin; Avner Seror
  2. Valuing cultural diversity of cities By David C. Maré; Jacques Poot
  3. The management of the artistic and cultural heritage in Italy: international comparisons, territorial differences, problems and prospects By Enrico Beretta; Giovanna Firpo; Andrea Migliardi; Diego Scalise
  4. Searching for diversity. An overview on board of Italian Cultural Organizations. By Monia Castellini; Marianna Marzano; Nicola Valentini
  5. Investing in superheroes? Comic art as a new alternative investment By BOCART Fabian,; HAFNER Christian,; KASPERSHAYA YUlia,; SAGARRA Marti,

  1. By: Murat Iyigun (University of Colorado, Boulder); Jared Rubin (Chapman University); Avner Seror (Aix-Marseille Univ, CNRS, EHESS, Ecole Centrale, AMSE, Marseille, France)
    Abstract: Why do some societies fail to adopt more efficient institutions? And why do such failures often coincide with cultural movements that glorify the past? We propose a model highlighting the interplay—or lack thereof—between institutional change and cultural beliefs. The main insight is that institutional change by itself will not lead to a more efficient economy unless culture evolves in tandem. This is because institutional change can be countered by changes in cultural values complementary to a more "traditional" economy. In our model, forward-looking elites, who benefit from a traditional, inefficient economy, may over-provide public goods that are complementary to the production of traditional goods. This encourages individuals to transmit cultural beliefs complementary to the provision of traditional goods. A horse race results between institutions, which evolve towards a more efficient (less traditional) economy, and cultural norms, which are pulled towards "tradition" by the elites. When culture wins the horse race, institutions respond by giving more political power to traditional elites—even if in doing so more efficient institutions are left behind. We call the interaction between these cultural and institutional dynamics a cultural revival.
    Keywords: institutions, cultural beliefs, cultural transmission, institutional change
    JEL: D02 N40 N70 O33 O38 O43 Z10
    Date: 2019–11
  2. By: David C. Maré (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research); Jacques Poot (Vrije Universiteit)
    Abstract: This paper revisits whether cultural diversity is a source of local production and/or consumption amenities. We adapt the analytical framework of Roback (1982, 1988) and Chen & Rosenthal (2008) to estimate the impact of cultural diversity on city wage and rent premiums from hedonic regressions. We focus on New Zealand which – with high residential mobility and ease of setting up business – is particularly suited to this framework. Additionally, our estimates are based on a very large data set: complete unit record census data on individuals and dwellings in 110 urban areas spanning 32 years. Controlling for observed and unobserved city characteristics, and for the potential endogeneity of diversity, we find that cultural diversity serves as a local positive production amenity and a weakly negative consumption amenity. The results are mostly robust to measuring cultural diversity by birthplace, ethnicity or religion; and to using a range of measures of diversity. We conclude that the presence of people from different cultural backgrounds enhances the profitability of urban firms. In contrast, a city’s population has a weak preference for living near others who are culturally similar to them. The effects are stronger in larger cities.
    Keywords: Diversity; fractionalisation; local amenity; urban wages and rents; hedonic regression
    JEL: J31 R21 R23 R31
    Date: 2019–10
  3. By: Enrico Beretta (Banca d'Italia); Giovanna Firpo (Banca d'Italia); Andrea Migliardi (Banca d'Italia); Diego Scalise (Banca d'Italia)
    Abstract: The work analyses - using various domestic and international statistical sources - the structural characteristics of the vast Italian museum, monumental and archaeological heritage, comparing them with those of the other main European countries. The main critical issues in managing the heritage are illustrated, distinguishing between factors related to conservation, accessibility, orientation towards visitors and the ability to relate with external stakeholders. Employing the microdata made available by the Istat census surveys, we study the factors behind the performance of cultural institutions in different outcome areas. The results indicate first that, notwithstanding the improvement in recent years, the effectiveness of management of cultural heritage falls short of its potential. The econometric analysis of the determinants of museum performance suggests that greater autonomy (accounting, organizational, operational) tends to generally correspond to better results, regardless of the public or private nature of the institution. Net of the individual observable characteristics of cultural institutions, there is a positive correlation between the various performance indicators, indicating the absence of fundamental trade-offs between the various branches of activity of museum sites. The legislative measures that, since 2014, have conferred a special autonomy on some museums have contributed to improving the value and attractiveness of the sites concerned.
    Keywords: artistic heritage, museums performance
    JEL: L33 Z18 H42
    Date: 2019–11
  4. By: Monia Castellini; Marianna Marzano; Nicola Valentini
    Abstract: Diversity takes on different meanings and synonymous; actually, the theme has been strongly debated in the era of globalization, migration and because of the affirmation of human rights and gender policies. Many studies are related to the analysis of board diversity within the for-profit organizations. Indeed, there is paucity of studies that linked the topic to the role of demographic and non-demographic diversity among cultural organizations and NPOs sector. Italian cultural institutions have been grouped together in a website by the private association AICI. The website was used in the present study in order to map organizations and their boards in terms of multiple diversity variables such visible and invisible parameters. Hereby, diversity is explored among board members of 102 private foundations and associations, including dimensions like age, gender, nationality, educational and professional background. One of the main finds of the research highlights how Italian cultural organizations have a low degree of diversity within the boards of directors.
    Keywords: Governance; Boards; Cultural institutes; Diversity; Gender
    JEL: L31 L32 Z10
    Date: 2019–11–05
  5. By: BOCART Fabian, (Jackson Heights, USA); HAFNER Christian, (Université catholique de Louvain); KASPERSHAYA YUlia, (Universitat de Barcelona); SAGARRA Marti, (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: Drawing on an exclusive dataset of more than 106,000 items of comic art sold at auction, we build quarterly and semi-annual indices for American and European comic art. We find that this new type of alternative investment outperformed US and European equities and bonds. Between 2002 and 2017, annualized returns of US comic artworks clearly outperformed most asset classes with a solid 11% annualized return, while EUropean comic art achieved 25% yearly returns on average in the period after 2009. We show that comic art delivers significant diversification benefits to an investment portfolio thanks to low correlations with other assets and to the geographical diversification between European and American markets. These outcomes contrast with fine art in general, which delivered few diversification benefits when compared to equities and bonds between 2002 and 2017, and whose geographical markets are closely tied to each other.
    Keywords: comic art, alternative investment, auctions, hedonic regressions, price index, portfolio
    JEL: C2 G1 Z1 Z11
    Date: 2019–09–01

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