The economics of the Arts is a new field with a small but rapidly-growing literature, which has emerged in recent years out of the eagerness of economists to apply their techniques to hitherto untried areas and the recognition by Arts administrators of the rapidly increasing economic pressures on the Arts. This book of readings is the first of its kind. Of the 16 articles, 8 are directly concerned with the Arts in America; the other 8 deal with the British scene. What can economics say about so non-economic a subject as the Arts? Obviously, finance for the Arts involves economic considerations. But in addition, economics provides, among other things, a logic of rational choice, and the economists' style of thinking, therefore, is adaptable to any problem of choice in respect of any set of goals, whether they be economic goals or not. Then, there is the question of whether economics can provide a case for public support for the Arts, that is, whether the State should subsidize the Arts. This is a familiar problem in the economics of welfare but its application to the Arts raises novel questions and even economists are not agreed on whether economics can provide such a rationale. Also, there is the question of criteria for public expenditure on the Arts, assuming that the case for some public expenditure has been made. Can economists tell us how much the State should spend on the Arts? Surely, they can help us with a host of other questions: should museums and galleries charge fees; should museums ever sell off parts of their collections; can the Arts economize on their expenditures; how can modern music be most effectively encouraged by public funds; are ticket prices an important element in the demand for the Arts; and does the low pay of artists discourage individuals from taking up artistic occupations?
Table of Contents
Preface: Recent Developments in the Economics of the Performing Arts -- Introduction: What is the Economics of the Arts About? -- The Rationale for Public Subsidies to the Arts -- Reasons for Subsidizing American Theater -- Arguments for Public Support of the Performing Arts -- What's Wrong with the Arts Is What's Wrong with Society1 -- Welfare Economics and Public Subsidies to the Arts1 -- Evaluating Public Expenditure on the Arts -- Cultural Accounting1 -- Does the Arts Council Know What It Is Doing? -- The Arts Council and Its Critics with A Reply -- Rationalising Social Expenditure–The Arts -- A Survey of American and British Audiences for the Performing Arts -- Special Problems -- Unsettled Questions in the Political Economy of the Arts -- The Economics of Museums and Galleries -- Are Museums Betraying the Public's Trust? -- On the Performing Arts: The Anatomy of their Economic Problems1 -- The Demand for Broadway Theater Tickets1 -- Risk, Uncertainty and the Performing Artist1 -- The Supply of the Performing Arts
Mark Blaug is Professor and Head of the Research Unit in the Economics of Education at the University of London and also teaches at the London School of Economics. He has taught at various American universities and is the author of four books.