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This special session presentation is designed to explore and discuss cross-cultural arts/culture sector governmental policies, development of comparable statistics, and economic analysis. Baumol and Bowen’s (1966) analysis of the performing arts was the first in-depth exploration of the sector from a cultural economics standpoint, and it made a powerful case for the economic necessity and rationale for public support (economic welfare) of the arts.
Governments around the world, at national/regional/local levels, play important roles in supporting arts organizations, both directly (via financial public support subsidies) and indirectly (via tax legislation and incentives). However, those same governmental entities can hinder the creative industries with political and bureaucratic decisions, constraints, and requirements (Frey 2003). For example, European artistic institutions have typically been managed with public administration/influence and heavy government budget subsidies, while US arts organizations tend to be independent, albeit with less government support and the accompanying risk of failure. It is interesting that, over the last decade, country models around the world (particularly of European and English-speaking nations) have continued to shift closer to the US model in terms of government policies/support (e.g., incentivizing the rise of foundation funding and tax incentives to increase private and corporate support). This movement in the direction of greater international commonality of government policies and support is expected to continue.
The effort of collecting statistical information on cultural activities, demographics, and financial/economic data remains an “apples-and-oranges” proposition from a cross-country analysis and reporting perspective. Standardized structures for data collection, common methodologies, and robust empirical cross-sectional and time series analyses are needed for accurate comprehensive assessment on a global scale. Recognizing the importance of developing comparable statistics for the creative industries, including the arts, UNESCO, and other institutions, has developed mapping exercises and economic/statistical analysis projects to provide governments, arts and culture sector organizations, and other stakeholders with the information that they need for decision-making, policy refinement, best practices development, and strategic management/marketing.
A recent example of a global economic analysis of the arts/culture sector is the Cultural Times–The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries study (2017), a collaborative effort by CISAC, UNESCO, and EY. That study defines ten distinct categories of creative industries: cultural heritage, printed matter and literature, music and the performing arts, visual arts, audiovisual media, cinema and photography, radio and television, sociocultural activities, sports and games, and environment and nature.
Efforts to classify and analyze governmental arts policies from a global perspective assess cross-cultural economic impacts of the arts, and standardized arts sector statistical reporting worldwide are still in their adolescence. For those interested in research involving the economics of art and the governmental structures/policies which affect the sector, publications which encourage and promulgate that work include the Journal of Cultural Economics; Cultural Policy; Empirical Studies in the Arts; Journal of Political Economy; International Journal of Arts Management; Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society; Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly; International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing; and Arts and the Market.
References Available Upon Request
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- Cross-Cultural Examination of Arts Sector Governmental Policies and Development of Standardized Economic Analyses: An Abstract
Theresa A. Kirchner
John B. Ford