nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2023‒09‒11
four papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola, Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Ars longa, vita brevis: The death of the creator and the impact on exhibitions and auction markets By Alexander Cuntz; Matthias Sahli
  2. The creative studio, designer of prospective scenarios for innovation for France Télécom R&D By Damien Douani; Thomas Michaud; Laurent Ponthou
  3. A Ruse by Any Other Name: Comparing Loot Boxes and Collectible Card Games Using Magic Arena By Mattinen, Topias; Macey, Joseph; Hamari, Juho
  4. Competition for Exclusivity and Customer Lock-in: Evidence from Copyright Enforcement in China By Youming Liu

  1. By: Alexander Cuntz; Matthias Sahli
    Abstract: This paper studies the death effect on artists’ exhibitions and commercial success in the secondary art market. Based on a random sample of 1’000 popular artists born after the turn of the 20th century, we construct a novel panel data set of their worldwide exhibition history and auction transactions. By applying a regression discontinuity and event study design, we find an overall negative effect of artist death on the number of exhibitions. However, this post mortem effect disappears in longer term. Roughly ten years after death, exhibitions are back to pre-death levels. Arguably, transaction cost and higher auction prices after death also temporarily increase the average cost of exhibiting artworks, e.g. higher market valuation raises (unobserved) insurance cost for exhibitions. Hedonic auction price models confirm this intuition and suggest a significant price premium posthumously. We find substantial heterogeneity in the treatment depending on the age and reputation of the artist at death. Overall findings explain important mechanisms for the post mortem value of artistic work and have important policy implications for the creative sectors and the design of legacy stewardship rules, including a possible justification for rights granted post mortem such as copyright.
    Keywords: Death-effect, empirical, artists, museums, exhibitions, event-study, regression discontinuity design, auctions, hedonic price models
    JEL: D44 Z11
    Date: 2023–08
  2. By: Damien Douani (Chercheur indépendant); Thomas Michaud (ISI - Centre de recherche sur l’Innovation et les Stratégies Industrielles - ULCO - Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale); Laurent Ponthou (Orange Innovation)
    Abstract: Corporate science fiction consists of producing prospective videos featuring new services or technological innovations. Between 1997 and 2003, France Telecom R&D produced dozens of prospective scenarios, imagining the telecommunications technologies of the future. This article presents the history and characteristics of this original project thanks to the testimony of actors involved in the production of these short films. Moreover, in this article we view audiovisual fiction in a historical perspective by considering the extent to which they anticipate the emergence of design fiction, which is a creative technique that takes inspiration from science fiction to prototype new objects. Several iconic videos have demonstrated their ability to anticipate by several years major innovations such as telepresence, smartphones, voice control applications and many other Internet- and virtual-related technologies. These films essentially play an evangelistic role and have been used to test new concepts with future users.
    Abstract: La science-fiction d'entreprise consiste à créer notamment des vidéos prospectives mettant en scène de nouveaux services ou des innovations technologiques. France Télécom R&D a produit entre 1997 et 2003 des dizaines de scénarios prospectifs imaginant les technologies de télécommunications du futur. Cet article présente l'histoire et les caractéristiques de ce projet original grâce au témoignage d'acteurs impliqués dans la réalisation de ces courts-métrages. De plus, il place des fictions audiovisuelles dans une perspective historique en envisageant dans quelle mesure elles anticipèrent l'émergence du design fiction, cette technique de créativité reposant sur l'utilisation de la science-fiction pour prototyper de nouveaux objets. Plusieurs vidéos emblématiques ont démontré leur capacité à anticiper de plusieurs années des innovations majeures comme la téléprésence, les smartphones, les applications de commande vocale, et bon nombre de technologies relatives à Internet et au virtuel. Ces films ont essentiellement joué un rôle d'évangélisation et servirent à tester de nouveaux concepts auprès des futurs utilisateurs.
    Keywords: Science Fiction, Videos, Telecommunications, France Télécom R&D, Design fiction, Prospective, Science-fiction, Innovation, Vidéos, Design Fiction, Télécommunications
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Mattinen, Topias (Tampere University); Macey, Joseph; Hamari, Juho
    Abstract: The convergence of gaming and gambling, known as "gamblification", has been a topic of increasing interest in recent years. Loot boxes, i.e., rewards offering randomized content in exchange for money or time, have been a particular focal point. Research has shown links between excessive loot box consumption and problematic consumption behaviors, leading to several attempts to regulate loot boxes. Arguments against regulation have been that loot boxes are conceptually and structurally akin to other unregulated game formats, such as collectible card games. However, this discourse is often without deeper analysis of the mechanics of different products at the center of convergence. Therefore, to add to this knowledge, this article examines the similarities and differences between booster packs in Magic Arena, their physical counterparts in Magic: The Gathering, and loot boxes included in digital games. Particular attention is paid to the ways in which these booster packs compare to loot boxes in terms of consumption patterns, visual appearance, contextual factors, and regulation. Analysis reveals that digital booster packs in Magic Arena differ from both loot boxes and physical card packs, both due to their direct impact on gameplay, and their unique features afforded by the digital environment in which they exist.
    Date: 2023–08–10
  4. By: Youming Liu
    Abstract: Copyright law grants copyright owners exclusive rights so that they have adequate financial incentives to create and innovate. However, when firms are copyright owners, they can leverage their right to sell or distribute products exclusively and thus obtain excessive financial gains. This paper studies the music streaming industry, where streaming services compete for exclusive licenses from music labels. Service providers use unique content to attract users, tailoring their services to individual preferences to create switching costs that lead to user lock-in. Using theoretical analysis and descriptive empirics, I show that exclusivity confers advantages in competition for a service that can generate larger lock-in effects. I then construct a dynamic structural model in which consumers face switching costs when making subscription decisions. I estimate the model using monthly data from China’s music streaming market over 2014–17. Finally, I simulate market outcomes under two alternative policies: a compulsory licensing provision and a mandatory data portability policy. The policy simulation shows that compulsory licensing that enforces non-exclusive distribution would not improve market competition by “leveling the field” between dominant and small services as intended. On the contrary, this policy increases market concentration, enlarging the gap in market share between dominant and small services. In contrast, mandatory data portability that reduces switching costs would decrease market concentration, bringing more users to smaller services.
    Keywords: Econometric and statistical methods; Firm dynamics; Market structure and pricing
    JEL: L13 L42 L51
    Date: 2023–08

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