IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlawec/doi10.1086-605567.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Vertical Integration during the Hollywood Studio Era

Author

Listed:
  • F. Andrew Hanssen

Abstract

The Hollywood studio system--production, distribution, and exhibition vertically integrated--flourished until 1948, when the famous Paramount decision forced the divestiture of theater chains and the abandonment of a number of vertical practices. Although many of the banned practices have since been posited to have increased efficiency, evidence of an efficiency-enhancing rationale for theater ownership has not been presented. This paper explores the hypothesis that theater chain ownership promoted efficient ex post adjustment in the length of film runs--specifically, abbreviation of unexpectedly unpopular films. Extracontractual run-length adjustments are desirable because demand for a film is not revealed until the film is actually exhibited. The paper employs a unique data set of cinema booking sheets. It finds that run lengths for releases by vertically integrated film producers were significantly--economically and statistically--more likely to be altered ex post. The paper documents and discusses additional practices intended to promote flexibility.

Suggested Citation

  • F. Andrew Hanssen, 2010. "Vertical Integration during the Hollywood Studio Era," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 519-543.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/605567
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/605567
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/605567
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84.
    2. Slade, Margaret E, 1998. "Beer and the Tie: Did Divestiture of Brewer-Owned Public Houses Lead to Higher Beer Prices?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 565-602, May.
    3. Julie H. Mortimer, 2008. "Vertical Contracts in the Video Rental Industry -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 165-199.
    4. Orbach, Barak Y. & Einav, Liran, 2007. "Uniform prices for differentiated goods: The case of the movie-theater industry," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 129-153.
    5. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-480, March.
    6. Kenney, Roy W & Klein, Benjamin, 1983. "The Economics of Block Booking," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 497-540, October.
    7. Riordan, Michael H, 1998. "Anticompetitive Vertical Integration by a Dominant Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1232-1248, December.
    8. Darren Filson & David Switzer & Portia Besocke, 2005. "At the Movies: The Economics of Exhibition Contracts," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(2), pages 354-369, April.
    9. De Vany, Arthur & Walls, W David, 1996. "Bose-Einstein Dynamics and Adaptive Contracting in the Motion Picture Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1493-1514, November.
    10. Klein, Benjamin, 1996. "Why Hold-Ups Occur: The Self-Enforcing Range of Contractual Relationships," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(3), pages 444-463, July.
    11. Waterman, David & Weiss, Andrew A., 1996. "The effects of vertical integration between cable television systems and pay cable networks," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1-2), pages 357-395.
    12. Kenneth S. Corts, 2001. "The Strategic Effects of Vertical Market Structure: Common Agency and Divisionalization in the US Motion Picture Industry," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 509-528, December.
    13. Barron, John M & Umbeck, John R, 1984. "The Effects of Different Contractual Arrangements: The Case of Retail Gasoline Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 313-328, October.
    14. Hanssen, F Andrew, 2000. "The Block Booking of Films Reexamined," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 395-426, October.
    15. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
    16. Gil, Ricard, 2007. ""Make-or-buy" in movies: Integration and ex-post renegotiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 643-655, August.
    17. Michael A. Salinger, 1988. "Vertical Mergers and Market Foreclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 345-356.
    18. Darren Filson, 2005. "Dynamic Common Agency and Investment: The Economics of Movie Distribution," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(4), pages 773-784, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fleck, Robert K. & Hanssen, F. Andrew, 2016. "Persistence and change in age-specific gender gaps: Hollywood actors from the silent era onward," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 36-49.
    2. Ricard Gil, 2015. "Does Vertical Integration Decrease Prices? Evidence from the Paramount Antitrust Case of 1948," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 162-191, May.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/605567. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.