I am a PhD candidate at HEC Lausanne (UNIL).
My research interests range from the economics of digitization, innovation, and IP rights to platforms.
You can find my CV here.
Batman Forever? The Role of Trademarks for Reuse in the US Comics Industry (with Alexander Cuntz and Christian Peukert). Accepted for publication in Research Policy.
We study how trademarks affect reuse of creative works in the comics industry. As a creative industry, the comics industry systematically relies on copyrights. But trademark protection can also be exploited to generate income from the reuse of comic characters or to strategically exclude others from reuse. Our unique data set combines US trademark records of comic characters with information on reuse in print media and franchise products from 1990 to 2017. We find that, on average, additional trademark protection is associated with a reduction in reuse in printed comic books of about 19%. We highlight three mechanisms: first, the negative relationship between trademarking and reuse has been especially pronounced since the early 2000s, when the arrival of digital technologies lowered the costs of entry, promotion, and distribution. Second, our results are driven by less reuse by third parties, not trademark holders. Third, reuse is higher when trademark owners license comic characters to third parties. The negative association between trademarking and reuse carries over to franchise products, but it is weaker and tied to the era of digitization, with a 2% decline in reuse in franchise movies and 9% lower reuse in video games.
Kaiser, F. (2020). “Diversity and overlapping IP rights in the comic world.” WIPO Magazine, 2020 (4).
Who is your favorite comic superhero? Batman? Wonder Woman? Black Panther? Comic superheroes are an integral part of contemporary pop culture and a multi-billion dollar global industry. New research by WIPO reveals that, over the last 40 years, Batman, Dracula and Spiderman are the top three most-used franchise characters for movies and video games in the United States, the world’s biggest media market. Franchises are derivative works which build on characters developed in original creative works for use in a variety of mediums.
Priem, M., Kaiser, F., & Schupp, J. (2020). Zufriedener denn je - Lebensverhältnisse in Deutschland 30 Jahre nach dem Mauerfall. Informationsdienst Soziale Indikatoren, 64, 7-15.
October 3, 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the German reunification. However, three decades have not yet been enough to completely equalize life satisfaction between East and West Germans. After a continuous shrinking of the "happiness gap" of self-reported life satisfaction in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the difference was smaller than ever in 2018, but had not been completely overcome. This is the conclusion of our analysis, which is based on data from the 2018 survey year of the long-term German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study.
Get Rich or Die Tryin': Concerts and the Digitization of Recorded Music (with Christian Peukert)
Over the last thirty years, the music industry has changed remarkably. Digitization has altered remuneration models of recorded music, moving from physical sales to usage-based payments from streaming services. Changes in artists' income from recorded music were accompanied by changes in complementary income from live performances. We quantify the relationship between artist income and concerts by studying the impact of live performances on the demand for recorded music. Data from the online music service last.fm allows us to track individual-level listening and concert-going behavior. Canceled concerts provide a quasi-experimental setting to study the causal impact of exposure to live performances on attendees' digital music listening behavior. We show that attending a concert increases the probability of listening to the artist by 30% per week and leads to 50% more plays.We estimate that this translates into additional recording income worth 13% of the yearly concert gross in the physical era, whereas it accounts for 0.5% of the yearly concert gross in the streaming era. These estimates explain aggregate trends showing that artists played more concerts in physical era than in the streaming era.
Measuring the Returns to Specialization in the Creative Industry (with Gaétan de Rassenfosse)
Specialization is a fundamental principle in economics, but its impact on the creative industries remains a subject of divergence. This study focuses on the comic industry, where the level of specialization among authors has changed significantly over time. Historically, comic book authors undertook all stages of creation themselves, including scriptwriting, drawing, and coloring. However, in recent years, a trend towards increased specialization has emerged, with authors focusing on either scriptwriting or illustration. In this study we want to i) measure the returns to specialization in the creative industries and 2) study the impact of specialization on authors' output. Our analysis is based on a comprehensive data set of French-speaking comic book authors from 1840 to 2022. The unexpected deaths of comic authors provide us with a quasi-natural experimental setting that allows us to perform difference-in-differences regressions. Through our analysis, we shed light on the economic implications of specialization in the comic industry, exploring its effects on authors' productivity and artistic outcomes. By delving into this specific context, we contribute to a deeper understanding of the broader dynamics of specialization within the creative sectors, providing valuable insights for practitioners and policymakers alike.