nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2020‒09‒28
six papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Organizing artistic production By Piano, Ennio Emanuele
  2. Gender and Culture By Giuliano, Paola
  3. Sustaining Cultural Diversity Through Cross-Cultural Competence By Bunce, John
  4. Expanding the measurement of culture with a sample of two billion humans By Obradovich, Nick; Özak, Ömer; Martín, Ignacio; Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio; Awad, Edmond; Cebrián, Manuel; Cuevas, Rubén; Desmet, Klaus; Rahwan, Iyad; Cuevas, Ángel
  5. L'art poétique et les tontines en France By Christian RIETSCH
  6. Culture and economic development in Africa – opportunities and challenges By John Kuada

  1. By: Piano, Ennio Emanuele (Middle Tennessee State University)
    Abstract: I develop a theory of the organization of artistic production. I begin by characterizing this process as requiring the performance of two types of tasks: Artistic tasks and mundane tasks. I argue that the nature of artistic tasks is such that artists are unlikely to ever be employed in someone else's firm. Instead, they will head their own firm. I also argue that the artist's choice of which tasks, including mundane ones, will be supplied in their firm, which by independent contractors, and which by the artist themselves will depend on the artist's cost of evaluating their performance via direct monitoring, market transaction. I provide empirical content to the model by discussing the historical evidence on the production of art in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy.
    Date: 2020–09–11
  2. By: Giuliano, Paola (University of California, Los Angeles)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the literature on gender and culture. Gender gaps in various outcomes (competitiveness, labor force participation, and performance in mathematics, amongst many others) show remarkable differences across countries and tend to persist over time. The economics literature initially explained these differences by looking at standard economic variables such as the level of development, women's education, the expansion of the service sector, and discrimination. More recent literature has argued that gender differences in a variety of outcomes could reflect underlying cultural values and beliefs. This article reviews the literature on the relevance of culture in the determination of different forms of gender gap. I examine how differences in historical situations could have been relevant in generating gender differences and the conditions under which gender norms tend to be stable or to change over time, emphasizing the role of social learning. Finally, I review the role of different forms of cultural transmission in shaping gender differences, distinguishing between channels of vertical transmission (the role of the family), horizontal transmission (the role of peers), and oblique transmission (the role of teachers or role models).
    Keywords: gender, culture, social norms
    JEL: A13 J16 Z1
    Date: 2020–08
  3. By: Bunce, John
    Abstract: In much contemporary political discourse, valued cultural characteristics are threatened by interaction with culturally-distinct others, such as immigrants or a hegemonic majority. Such interaction often fosters cross-cultural competence (CCC), the ability to interact successfully across cultural boundaries. However most theories of cultural dynamics ignore CCC, making cultural diversity incompatible with mutually-beneficial inter-group interaction, and contributing to fears of cultural loss. Here, new theory, incorporating competing developmental paths to CCC and group identity valuation, illuminates how a common strategy of disempowered minorities can counter-intuitively sustain cultural diversity: Given strong group identity, minorities in a structurally-unequal, integrative society can maintain their distinctive cultural norms by learning those of the majority. Simple field methods in an Amazonian population demonstrate how to assess such strategies' effectiveness given predicted dynamics.
    Date: 2020–09–06
  4. By: Obradovich, Nick (Max Planck Institute for Human Development); Özak, Ömer (Southern Methodist University); Martín, Ignacio; Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio; Awad, Edmond; Cebrián, Manuel; Cuevas, Rubén; Desmet, Klaus; Rahwan, Iyad; Cuevas, Ángel
    Abstract: Culture has played a pivotal role in human evolution. Yet, the ability of social scientists to study culture is limited by currently available measurement instruments. Scholars of culture must regularly choose between scalable but sparse survey-based methods or restricted but rich ethnographic methods. Here, we demonstrate that massive online social networks can advance the study of human culture by providing quantitative, scalable, and high-resolution measurement of behaviorally revealed cultural values and preferences. We employ publicly available data across nearly 60,000 topic dimensions drawn from two billion Facebook users across 225 countries and territories. The data capture preferences inferred by Facebook from online behaviours on the platform, behaviors on external websites and apps, and offline behaviours captured by smartphones and other devices. We first validate that cultural distances calculated from this measurement instrument correspond to survey-based and objective measures of cultural differences. We then demonstrate that this measure enables insight into the cultural landscape globally at previously impossible resolution. We analyze the importance of national borders in shaping culture and explore unique cultural markers that identify subnational population groups. The global collection of massive data on human behavior provides a high-dimensional complement to traditional cultural metrics, potentially enabling novel insight into fundamental questions in the social sciences. The measure enables detailed investigation into the countries’ geopolitical stability, social cleavages within both small and large-scale human groups, the integration of migrant populations, and the disaffection of certain population groups from the political process, among myriad other potential future applications.
    Date: 2020–09–09
  5. By: Christian RIETSCH
    Date: 2020
  6. By: John Kuada (Aalborg University, Denmark)
    Abstract: This paper forwards the view that some aspects of African culture enhance economic development on the continent while other aspects tend to constrain development. By drawing on the extant literature on culture and development, the paper discusses the manner in which economic activities are organised in Sub-Saharan African countries and the impact of these processes on their overall development. We argue that insight into the development-constraining attributes of African culture will help policymakers and business people design policies and strategies that will improve the overall performance of African economies.
    Keywords: Culture, economic development, business development, entrepreneurship, Africa
    Date: 2020–09

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