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Sunk costs and the dynamics of creative industries

Bakker, Gerben (2012) Sunk costs and the dynamics of creative industries. Economic History working papers (172/12). Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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This chapter examines the long-run evolution of modern entertainment industries such as the film and music industries. It investigates ways to conceptualise and quantify the subsequent waves of creative destruction, and investigates specifically how sunk costs affect the evolution of the industry through its interaction with variety, market integration, product differentiation and price discrimination, and how old entertainment formats almost never became extinct. It finds that within this framework, four economic tendencies shaped the entertainment industries evolution: first, endogenous sunk costs often led to a competitive escalation of production expenditures, which we call ‘quality races’, which increased industrial concentration. Second, the fact that marginal revenues largely equalled marginal profits led to extreme vertical integration through ownership or revenue-sharing contracts, as well as to an oversupply of variety and a dual market structure with high-concept blockbuster products and low-budget niche products. Third, entertainment’s public good characteristics led to substantial income inequality among creative inputs and business models optimising exclusion possibilities in the value chain. Finally, the project-based character of entertainment production implied large intra- and inter-industry agglomeration benefits and often led to geographical concentration. Dynamic product differentiation allowed various old formats to survive the waves of creative destruction, albeit in much smaller incarnations.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Author
Divisions: Accounting
Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Departments > Accounting
Departments > Economic History
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2013 16:52
Last Modified: 30 Dec 2020 00:41

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