The Adoption of New Technologies: Understanding Hollywood’s (Slow) Conversion to Color, 1940-70

35 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2012 Last revised: 29 Aug 2014

See all articles by Ricard Gil

Ricard Gil

Queen's University (Canada) - Smith School of Business; Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School

Ryan Lampe

California State University, East Bay - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 29, 2014

Abstract

Hollywood converted to sound in three years. In comparison, Hollywood's conversion to color required more than three decades, and included a three-year period in which the share of color movies declined from 58 to 31 percent. We investigate this puzzling adoption profile using detailed data on 7,022 movies between 1940 and 1959. These data indicate differences in studio size and complementarity between genre and color impeded the rapid diffusion of color. These data also indicate that disadoption followed weak returns to a wave of color releases that were encouraged by the introduction of a low-cost color process.

Keywords: technology adoption, color, movies

JEL Classification: L24, L82, O33, Z1

Suggested Citation

Gil, Ricard and Lampe, Ryan, The Adoption of New Technologies: Understanding Hollywood’s (Slow) Conversion to Color, 1940-70 (April 29, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2176802 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2176802

Ricard Gil (Contact Author)

Queen's University (Canada) - Smith School of Business ( email )

Smith School of Business - Queen's University
143 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

Johns Hopkins University - Carey Business School ( email )

100 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States

HOME PAGE: http://carey.jhu.edu

Ryan Lampe

California State University, East Bay - Department of Economics ( email )

25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94542
United States

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