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Historical origins of cultural supply in Italy

Listed author(s):
  • Karol Jan Borowiecki

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.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 67 (2015)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 781-805

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:67:y:2015:i:3:p:781-805.
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  1. Falck, Oliver & Fritsch, Michael & Heblich, Stephan, 2011. "The phantom of the opera: Cultural amenities, human capital, and regional economic growth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 755-766.
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