Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 701–716 | Cite as

American beauty: trade flows and export costs of US movies

  • Gianpiero Meloni
  • Dimitri PaoliniEmail author
  • J. D. Tena
Original Article


This paper estimates a hedonic model of revenues for 1431 American movies in 45 non-American countries over the period 2002–2013. Such an extensive analysis is proven to be useful to estimate the effect of indicators of geographical and cultural distance on total revenue and the number of American films exported to non-American countries once the model specification also controls for relevant film features. It is found that indicators of cultural and geographical distance, in addition to the Human Development Index, have a significant effect on both the number of American films shown and the revenue obtained. Estimation results have been also used to appraise the importance of film features in different groups of countries from the perspective of their degree of development and distance from the USA.


American movies Export Geographical and cultural distance 

JEL Classification

Z1 F14 L82 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author Dimitri Paolini has received research grant from PRIN (Research projects of national interest) by Minister of Education and from Fondazione Banco di Sardegna. The authors G. Meloni and JD. Tena declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Altman, N. S. (1992). An introduction to kernel and nearest-neighbor nonparametric regression. The American Statistician, 46(3), 175–185.Google Scholar
  2. Bernard, A. B., & Jensen, J. B. (1999). Exceptional exporter performance: Cause, effect, or both? Journal of International Economics, 47(1), 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernard, A. B., Jensen, J. B., Redding, S. J., & Schott, P. K. (2007). Firms in international trade. Journal of Economic Perspective, 21(3), 105–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fu, W. W., & Lee, T. (2008). Economic and cultural influences on the theatrical consumption of foreign films in Singapore. Journal of Media Economics, 21, 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hanson, G., & Xiang, C. (2011). Trade barriers and trade ows with product heterogeneity: An application to US motion picture exports. Journal of International Economics, 83, 14–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Heckman, J. J. (1979). Sample selection bias as a specification error. Econometrica, 47, 153–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hellmanzik, Ch., & Schmitz, M. (2015). Virtual proximity and audiovisual services trade. European Economic Review, 77, 82–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Helpman, E., Melitz, M. J., & Rubinstein, Y. (2008). Estimating trade flows: Trading partners and trading volumes. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 123(2), 441–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences, comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Holloway, I. R. (2014). Foreign entry, quality, and cultural distance: Product-level evidence from US movie exports. Review of World Economics, 150(2), 371–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Huettner, F., & Sunder, M. (2012). Axiomatic arguments for decomposing goodness of fit according to Shapley and Owen values. Electronic Journal of Statistics, 6, 1239–1250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kogut, B., & Singh, H. (1988). The effect of national culture on the choice of entry mode. Journal of International Business Studies, 19(3), 411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lee, F. L. F. (2009). Cultural discount of cinematic achievement: The Academy Awards and U.S. movies’ East Asian box office. Journal of Cultural Economics, 33, 239–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Marvasti, A., & Canterbery, E. R. (2005). Cultural and other barriers to motion pictures trade. Economic Inquiry, 43(1), 39–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mayer, T., & Zignano, S. (2011). Notes on CEPII’s distance measures: the GeoDist database. CEPII working paper, 2011-25.Google Scholar
  17. Melitz, M. J. (2003). The impact of trade on intra-industry reallocations and aggregate industry productivity. Econometrica, 71(6), 1695–1725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Palsson, C., Price, J., & Shores, J. (2013). Ratings and revenues: Evidence from movie ratings. Contemporary Economic Policy, 31(1), 13–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wagner, C. H. (1982). The Simpson’s paradox in real live. The American Statistician, 36(1), 46–48.Google Scholar
  20. Walls, W. D., & McKenzie, J. (2012). The changing role of hollywood in the global movie market. Journal of Media Economics, 25(4), 198–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wooldridge, J. M. (2010). Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Libreria UbikCagliariItaly
  2. 2.CRENoSSassariItaly
  3. 3.CORELouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  4. 4.Management SchoolUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations