Arts, culture and the economy: A review of the practice as to how the arts and the economy are understood to interact

Barry Burgan


The economic contribution of arts and cultural activity is often presented by arts sector managers as an important reason for why the government should provide support and subsidies for the conduct of arts activities. This paper provides a review of how such contributions are assessed, and the issues involved. The paper argues that while the economic contribution is an important facet of the arts sector, claims as to the level of that contribution, need to be presented appropriately. This is done, the paper argues, by not just considering aspects such as employment generated, but by recognising the economic issues from the context of a benefit cost evaluation framework. This recognises that the market failure arguments within the arts sector underpins the relevance of estimating the value of benefits for supporting the arts from a community perspective.

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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