Giorcelli and Moser (2015)
|Giorcelli and Moser (2015)|
|Title:||Copyright and Creativity – Evidence from Italian Operas|
|Author(s):||Giorcelli, M., Moser, P.|
|Citation:||Giorcelli, M., & Moser, P. (2014). Copyright and Creativity: Evidence from Italian Operas. Available at SSRN 2505776.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Sprigman (2017)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Dada includes information on copyright length and on premieres of Italian operas in eight states within the year 1900 borders of Italy.
Data on premieres cover 2,598 first performances of operas between 1770 and 1900. For all 2,598 operas, the data include the title of each opera, the name of its composer, the year of the premiere, and the theater, city, and state in which the opera was first performed. Information was taken from various historical opera annals and cross checked against the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Data for artistic durability was compiled by checking for operas still available for sale on Amazon.com.
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
This paper exploits variation in the adoption of copyright laws within Italy – as a result of variation in the timing of Napoleon’s military victories – to examine the effects of copyrights on creativity. To measure variation creative output, we use new data on 2,598 operas that premiered across eight states within Italy between 1770 and 1900. These data indicate that the adoption of copyrights led to a significant increase in the number of new operas premiered per state and year. We find that the number of high-quality operas also increased – measured both by their contemporary popularity and by the longevity of operas. By comparison, evidence for a significant effect of copyright extensions is limited. Our analysis of alternative mechanisms for this increase reveals a substantial shift in composer migration in response to copyrights. Consistent with agglomeration externalities, we also find that cities with a better pre-existing infrastructure of performance spaces benefitted more copyright laws.
Main Results of the Study
The paper uses data collected specifically by the authors to test the hypothesis that creativity (in terms of quantity and quality as in durability of the works) is increased by copyright. The test analyses differences in these data by Italian state starting from 1801, contrasting effects of two states where there was copyright from that date with output in other states that did not until much later. The findings are that the presence of copyright increase output and stimulated composer migration. The study does not find any effect for extensions of copyright.
- Summary statistics on the changes in the number of new operas produced per state and year show that opera production increased significantly after Lombardy and Venetia adopted copyrights (from 1.55 new operas per state and year to 4.48 – a 189% increase). By comparison, in states that did not offer copyrights, production increased only 54% (from 1.36 to 2.10).
- The creation of copyright may also have influenced by increasing the quality of new operas if composers had an intrinsic preference for producing high quality works, and if the additional revenue from copyrights relaxed their budget constraint enough to allow them to substitute quality for quantity.
- Summary statistics indicate that composers in copyright state began to produce significantly more high-quality operas after its introduction in 1801 (composers premiers increased from 0.125 per year to 0.619 – a 396% increase). By comparison, in states that did not offer copyrights, production increased only 100% (from 0.083 to 0.167).
- Summary statistics also indicate that composers in state-time pairs with copyright produced more historically popular operas than composers in states without copyrights.
Editorial comment: A fundamental flaw in the paper is that it does not consider any economic effects that might also be associated with these results, specifically the influence of differential wealth. Lombardy and the Veneto were the most prosperous parts of Italy and that should be taken into consideration both for the remuneration composers would receive, the number of opera houses providing opportunities and the fact that composers follow the money as other studies have shown.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- The results of this paper suggest that narrowly defined intellectual property – in the form of copyrights – can encourage creativity in quantity and quality and innovation, whereas more broadly defined intellectual property rights patent rights appear to discourage innovation.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||year|
|Period of material under study:||1770-1900|
|Level of aggregation:||first performances|
|Period of material under study:||1770-1900|