Purpose: Although recent models of place branding have proposed culture as a crucial element in establishing a strong place or nation brand, the way in which cultural products influence the brand equity of other products from the same nation has not yet been studied. This study aims to argue that when a nation has strong legal institutions, as perceived by investors and managers, it offers fertile soil for cultivating cultural products that, when exported, can act as “cultural ambassadors,” promoting the country image in the minds of consumers and the value of the country's brands. Design/methodology/approach: Exports of cultural products are provided by UNESCO. Valuable brands are those that brand finance included in its global top 500 most valuable brands list. The rule of law is provided by the World Bank. Panel regression models are used. Findings: Supporting the hypotheses, exports of cultural products show positive effects on the value of brands from that country, and the rule of law shows positive effects on exports of cultural products. Practical implications: Policymakers could improve the brand value of local firms by promoting exports of cultural products. To do so, policymakers should initiate judicial reforms that strengthen the rule of law to protect contracts and property rights. Originality/value: This study examines the hitherto underexplored effects that a country's cultural product exports have on the brand value of firms from that country. Most prior research has focused on factors affecting imports of cultural products.
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