IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ehl/wpaper/22316.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The evolution of entertainment consumption and the emergence of cinema, 1890-1940

Author

Listed:
  • Bakker, Gerben

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of consumption in the emergence of the motion picture industry in Britain France and the US. A time-lag of at least twelve years between the invention of cinema and the film industry’s take-off suggests that the latter was not mainly technology-driven. In all three countries, demand for spectator entertainment grew at a phenomenal rate, far more still in quantity than in expenditure terms. In 1890 ‘amusements and vacation’ was a luxury service in all three countries. Later, US consumers consumed consistently more cinema than live, compared to Europe. More disaggregated data for the 1930s reveal that in Europe, cinema was an inferior good, in the US it was a luxury, and that in Europe, live entertainment was just above a normal good, while in the US it was a strong luxury. Comparative analysis of consumption differences suggests that one-thirds of the US/UK difference and nearly all of the UK/France difference can be explained by differences in relative price (‘technology’), and all of the US/France difference by differences in preferences (‘taste’). These findings suggest a strong UK comparative advantage in live entertainment production. Using informal comparative growth analysis, the paper finds that cinema consumption was part of a large boom in expenditure on a variety of leisure goods and services; over time, by an evolutionary process, some of these goods, such as cinema and radio, formed the basis of dominant consumption habits, while others remained relatively small. The emergence of cinema, then, was led to a considerable extent by demand, which, through an evolutionary process, was directed towards increasing consumer expenditure on spectator entertainment.

Suggested Citation

  • Bakker, Gerben, 2007. "The evolution of entertainment consumption and the emergence of cinema, 1890-1940," Economic History Working Papers 22316, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22316
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22316/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Horrell, Sara, 1996. "Home Demand and British Industrialization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 561-604, September.
    2. Bakker, Gerben, 2001. "Stars and Stories: How Films Became Branded Products," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 461-502, September.
    3. Gerben Bakker, 2003. "Building Knowledge about the Consumer: The Emergence of Market Research in the Motion Picture Industry," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 101-127.
    4. Bakker, Gerben, 2003. "The decline and fall of the European film industry: sunk costs, market size and market structure, 1890-1927," Economic History Working Papers 22366, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    5. Bakker,Gerben, 2011. "Entertainment Industrialised," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107403499, April.
    6. Bakker, Gerben, 2006. "The Making of a Music Multinational: PolyGram's International Businesses, 1945–1998," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 80(01), pages 81-123, March.
    7. Bakker, Gerben, 2004. "At the origins of increased productivity growth in services. Productivity, social savings and the consumer surplus of the film industry, 1900-1938," Economic History Working Papers 22348, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    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. Gerben Bakker, 2011. "Leisure Time, Cinema and the Structure of Household Entertainment Expenditure, 1890–1940," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Leisure, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

    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:ehl:wpaper:22316. 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: (LSERO Manager on behalf of EH Dept.). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/chlseuk.html .

    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.