nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2022‒04‒25
five papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Contracting Creativity By Piano, Ennio Emanuele; Piano, Clara E.
  2. Catholic Censorship and the Demise of Knowledge Production in Early Modern Italy By Fabio Blasutto; David de la Croix
  3. Opinions as Facts By Leonardo Bursztyn; Aakaash Rao; Christopher Roth; David Yanagizawa-Drott
  4. The new crypto niche: NFTs, play-to-earn, and metaverse tokens By Vidal-Tomás, David
  5. Using Digitized Newspapers to Refine Historical Measures: The Case of the Boll Weevil By Andreas Ferrara; Joung Yeob Ha; Randall Walsh

  1. By: Piano, Ennio Emanuele (Middle Tennessee State University); Piano, Clara E.
    Abstract: For centuries, the production and exchange of Renaissance paintings took place under a commission system. Disagreements arose between patrons and artists over what the finished product should look like. In such circumstances, the patron may try to impose restrictions on the artist’s creative freedom. We study contractual solutions to creative disagreements in Renaissance art markets using a sample of 90 commission documents (1285-1530). We investigate the determinants of creative freedom by comparing the length of the description of the final painting with a number of variables capturing painter-, patron-, and commission-specific characteristics. Our results suggest that corporate patrons are positively associated with creative freedom as compared to individual patrons. We also find evidence that the reputation of the painter (at commission) and larger compensations are negatively associated with creative freedom.
    Date: 2022–04–01
  2. By: Fabio Blasutto (Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics); David de la Croix (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: Censorship makes new ideas less available to others, but also reduces the share of people choosing to develop non-compliant ideas. We propose a new method to measure the effect of censorship on knowledge growth, accounting for the agents' choice between compliant and non-compliant occupations. We apply our method to the Catholic Church's censorship of books written by members of Italian universities and academies over the period 1400-1750. We highlight two new facts: once censorship was introduced, censored authors were of better quality than the non-censored authors, but this gap shrank over time, and the intensity of censorship decreased over time. These facts are used to identify the deep parameters of a novel endogenous growth model linking censorship to knowledge diffusion and occupational choice. We conclude that censorship reduced by 34% the average log publication per scholar in Italy, while adverse macroeoconomic processes are responsible for another 9% reduction. Interestingly, the induced reallocation of talents towards compliant activities explains half the effect of censorship.
    Keywords: Censorship, Upper-Tail Human Capital, Publications, Scholars, Early Modern Italy, Occupational Choice
    JEL: J24 N33 O33 O43
    Date: 2022–04–14
  3. By: Leonardo Bursztyn (University of Chicago and NBER); Aakaash Rao (Harvard University); Christopher Roth (University of Cologne, Econtribute, CAGE Warwick, CESifo, CEPR, briq); David Yanagizawa-Drott (University of Zurich and CEPR)
    Abstract: The rise of opinion programs has transformed television news. Because they present anchors’ subjective commentary and analysis, opinion programs often convey conflicting narratives about reality. We experimentally document that people across the ideological spectrum turn to opinion programs over “straight news,” even when provided large incentives to learn objective facts. We then examine the consequences of diverging narratives between opinion programs in a high-stakes setting: the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. We find stark differences in the adoption of preventative behaviors among viewers of the two most popular opinion programs, both on the same network, which adopted opposing narratives about the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We then show that areas with greater relative viewership of the program downplaying the threat experienced a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Our evidence suggests that opinion programs may distort important beliefs and behaviors.
    Keywords: Opinion programs, Media, Narratives
    JEL: C90 D83 D91 Z13
    Date: 2022–04
  4. By: Vidal-Tomás, David
    Abstract: The combination of blockchain technologies and the gaming industry has given rise to metaverses and play-to-earn games, which incorporate their own economy, commerce, and currencies, namely, metaverse and play-to-earn tokens. In this paper, we analysed the performance and dynamics of 174 tokens, the results of which show that this new crypto niche is characterised by a positive performance in the long run and the absence of dependences on the cryptocurrency market, which could attract more gamers, traders, and companies. However, all these groups should be cautious due to the possible onset of a new crypto bubble.
    Keywords: Metaverse , Play-to-earn , NFT , Cryptocurrency , Gaming industry , Diversification
    JEL: G10
    Date: 2022–01–02
  5. By: Andreas Ferrara; Joung Yeob Ha; Randall Walsh
    Abstract: This paper shows how to remove attenuation bias in regression analyses due to measurement error in historical data for a given variable of interest by using a secondary measure which can be easily generated from digitized newspapers. We provide three methods for using this secondary variable to deal with non-classical measurement error in a binary treatment: set identification, bias reduction via sample restriction, and a parametric bias correction. We demonstrate the usefulness of our methods by replicating two recent studies on the effect of the boll weevil. Relative to the initial analysis, our results yield markedly larger coefficient estimates.
    JEL: N01
    Date: 2022–02

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