Copyright and Creativity: Evidence from Italian Opera During the Napoleonic Age
This paper exploits exogenous variation in the adoption of copyrights – as a result of the timing of Napoléon’s military victories in Italy – to examine the effects of copyrights on creativity. To measure changes in creative output we compare changes in the creation of new operas across states with and without copyrights. Difference-in-differences analyses show that basic copyrights increased both the number and the quality of operas, measured by their popularity and durability. Notably, there is no evidence of comparable benefits for extensions in copyright lengths. Complementary analyses for other types of musical compositions confirm the main results.