Historical Origins of Cultural Supply in Italy
Discussion Papers on Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, 3/2015
54 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 25, 2015
I investigate the consequences of long-run persistency of a society’s preferences for cultural goods. Historical cultural activity is approximated with the frequency of births of music composers during the Renaissance and is linked with contemporary measures of cultural activity in Italian provinces. Areas with a one percent higher number of composer births nowadays show an up to 0.29% higher supply of classical concerts and 0.16% more opera performances. Classical concerts and opera performances have also rather bigger audiences and obtain greater revenues in provinces that have been culturally active in the past. Today, those provinces also exhibit a somewhat lower supply of other forms of entertainment (e.g., sport events), thereby implying a tantalising divergence in societies’ cultural preferences which is attributable to events rooted in the past. It is also shown that the geography of composer births is remarkably persistent over a period of seven centuries.
Keywords: Economic development, Culture, Institutions, Path dependence, Endogenous preferences
JEL Classification: N33, N34, O10, Z1, Z10
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