This paper explores a much-neglected aspect of cultural policies: the role of the institutions in charge and the way they use the instruments at their disposal. It focuses on the film industry which offers the remarkable contrast on how the Korean film industry has outperformed the French one in less than twenty years. This paper provides three conclusions. First, it presents an economic analysis of the French and Korean institutions which shows that building a rich organization with a large degree of freedom for action and granting extensive subsidies is not a sure recipe for the success of the country’s film industry. Second, it explains this paradox by the types of subsidies used by the institutions—whether these subsidies target narrowly defined goals (on a film-per-film basis), or have objectives broad enough to benefit potentially all participants in the film industry, such as improving the infrastructure needed for producing films (studios, schools for actors). Last but not least, this paradox is also due to the abundance of subsidies and measures of all types at the disposal of rich institutions, which can easily become a source of costly inconsistencies. This paper provides two illustrations of these conflicts among the instruments provided.


consistent film policies, film industry, institutions, principal-agent dilemma, subsidies

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)