Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Cultural Trade Protectionism
31 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2011 Last revised: 9 May 2017
Date Written: May 5, 2017
We examine the Internet's impact on the cross-border distribution of cultural goods and assess its implications for cultural policy and cultural diversity. We present a stylized model of a two-country economy where governments are endowed with political preferences over the consumption of domestic content and enact import barriers and subsidies to protect it. We introduce peer-to-peer file sharing as a distinct distribution channel enabled by the Internet that provides access to all media products at a low cost. We report two main findings. First, the Internet renders legacy cultural policy inefficient, and the elimination of import barriers and the reduction of subsidized production can be desirable even when governments exhibit paternalistic preferences favoring the consumption of domestic content. And second, even though the Internet increases cultural diversity within countries, it can also reduce diversity across them.
Keywords: Media Industry, Digital Distribution, Cultural Policy, Cultural Diversity
JEL Classification: F12, L16, L52, L82, L86
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation