Self-Regulation vs State Regulation: Evidence from Cinema Age Restrictions
45 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2018
Date Written: February 22, 2018
Motion picture ratings systems classify a movie’s violent and sexual content and potentially require theater owners to restrict entry to minors. We study the impact of self-regulation on the leniency of ratings using cross-country variation in the level of restrictions applied to 1,810 movies that were released in 34 countries or provinces between 2000 and 2011. While ratings in most countries are issued by state-regulated bodies, ratings in six countries are issued by agencies created and operated by the film industry. Our data indicate that these self-regulatory organizations issue more lenient ratings to films with strong teenage appeal, which we demonstrate are most affected by restrictive ratings. Compared to movies with low teenage appeal, movies with high teenage appeal are available to audiences 2.6 months younger on average in countries with a self-regulated ratings agency.
Keywords: self-regulation, movies
JEL Classification: L51
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