Journal Article

Historical origins of cultural supply in Italy

Karol Jan Borowiecki

in Oxford Economic Papers

Volume 67, issue 3, pages 781-805
Published in print July 2015 | ISSN: 0030-7653
Published online April 2015 | e-ISSN: 1464-3812 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oep/gpv029
Historical origins of cultural supply in Italy

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  • Economic Sociology
  • Labour and Demographic Economics
  • Economic Development

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I investigate the consequences of long-run persistence 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 1% 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 tantalizing divergence in societies’ cultural preferences that 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: N33; N34; O10; Z1; Z10

Journal Article.  11295 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Sociology ; Labour and Demographic Economics ; Economic Development

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