nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2020‒03‒09
four papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Technical change and superstar effects: evidence from the roll-out of television By König, Felix
  2. The Nollywood Nudge : An Entertaining Approach to Saving By Coville,Aidan; Di Maro,Vincenzo; Dunsch,Felipe Alexander; Zottel,Siegfried
  3. Do People Value More Informative News? By Felix Chopra; Ingar Haaland; Christopher Roth
  4. Media Competition and News Diets By Charles Angelucci; Julia Cage; Michael Sinkinson

  1. By: König, Felix
    Abstract: "Superstar effects" generate large compensation differentials among similarly talented individuals. Are superstar effects amplified by technological innovations that extend the scale over which talent is deployed? I test this idea in the market for entertainers, using the roll-out of television as a natural experiment which provides clean variation in a scale-related technological change. The launch of a local TV station increases top entertainers' incomes, resulting in a twofold increase in top-percentile income share, while reducing employment and incomes of lower-level talents. These results show clear evidence of superstar effects and are inconsistent with canonical models of skill-biased technological change.
    Keywords: superstar effect; inequality; top incomes; technical change
    JEL: J31 J23 O33 D31
    Date: 2019–11
  2. By: Coville,Aidan; Di Maro,Vincenzo; Dunsch,Felipe Alexander; Zottel,Siegfried
    Abstract: This paper investigates the immediate and medium-term behavioral response to an emotional trigger designed to affect biases in intertemporal financial decisions. The emotional trigger is provided by a narrative portraying the catastrophic consequences of poor financial choices. Even when people are fully aware of the most appropriate action to take, cognitive biases may prevent this knowledge from translating into action. The paper contributes to the literature by directly testing the importance of linking emotional stimulus to financial messages, to influence borrowing and saving decisions, and identifying the interaction between emotional stimulus and the opportunity to act on this stimulus. The study randomly assigned individuals to a featured production -- a Nollywood (the Nigerian Hollywood) movie -- on the financial consequences of poor borrowing and saving behavior. This treatment is interacted with the option of opening a savings account at the screening of the movie. At the exit of the screening, individuals in the financial education movie treatment are more likely to open a savings account than individuals in the placebo movie treatment. However, the effects dissipate quickly. When savings and borrowing behavior is measured four months later, the study finds no differences between treatments. The paper concludes that emotional triggers delivered in the context of a one-time feature film might not be enough to secure sustained changes in behavior.
    Keywords: Educational Sciences,Primary Metals,Gender and Development,Financial Literacy,Access to Finance
    Date: 2019–06–27
  3. By: Felix Chopra; Ingar Haaland; Christopher Roth
    Abstract: We examine whether the desire for more information is people's dominant motive for reading economic and political news. Drawing on representative samples of the U.S. population with more than 15,000 respondents in total, we measure and experimentally vary people's beliefs about the informativeness of news. Inconsistent with the desire for more information being the dominant motive for people's news consumption, treated respondents who think that a newspaper is less likely to suppress information reduce their demand for news from this newspaper. Furthermore, treated respondents who think that a news outlet is more likely to make false claims do not reduce their demand for this outlet. These findings strongly suggest that people have other motives to read news that sometimes conflict with their desire for more informative news. We discuss the implications of our findings for the regulation of media markets.
    Keywords: News Consumption, Information, Media Bias, Belief Polarization, Informativeness
    JEL: D83 D91 L82
    Date: 2020–02
  4. By: Charles Angelucci (Columbia Business School); Julia Cage (Département d'économie); Michael Sinkinson (Yale School of Management)
    Abstract: News media operate in two-sided markets, offering bundles of content to readers as well as selling readers' attention to advertisers. Technological innovations in content delivery, such as the advent of broadcast television or of the Internet, affect both sides of the market, threatening the basic economic model of print news operations. We examine how the entry of television affected local newspapers as well as consumer media diets in the United States. We develop a model of print media and show that entry of national television news could adversely affect the provision of local news. We construct a novel dataset of U.S. newspapers' economic performance and content choices from 1944 to 1964. Our empirical strategy exploits quasi-random variation in the timing of the entry of television in different markets. We show that the entry of television was a negative shock for newspapers, particularly evening newspapers, in both the readership and advertising markets. Further, we find a drop in the total quantity of news printed, in particular original reporting, raising concerns about the provision of local news.
    JEL: D4 L11 L15 M37 N72
    Date: 2020–02

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