Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes

Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes

Edited by Marcel Boumans and Matthias Klaes

This collection of eminent contributions discusses the ideas and works of Mark Blaug, who has made important and often pioneering contributions to economic history, economic methodology, the economics of education, development economics, cultural economics, economic theory and the history of economic thought. Besides these assessments of Blaug’s influence and impact in these fields, this volume also contains a selection of personal portraits which depict him as a colleague, a friend and an opponent. Blaug was also a voracious reader and prolific writer, which is clearly evidenced by the comprehensive bibliography.

Chapter 15: Mark Blaug and the economics of the arts

Victor Ginsburgh

Subjects: economics and finance, cultural economics, economics of education, history of economic thought, methodology of economics


In 1976, Mark Blaug edited a volume entitled The Economics of the Arts. I do not know whether this was before he met Ruth Towse, or whether he met her because of the book, or because, like in the old times – and I like this idea – he became enamored with the singer she used to be, but what I certainly know is that Mark loved Ruth. One day, sitting at a dinner with him, I dared a remark on Ruth, and he almost jumped on me to defend her. I do not remember what I had said, I am sure it was nothing (too) obnoxious, but still, it made him jump. I wanted to start with this very innocent recollection, which I will never forget, and offer Ruth my deepest sympathy. She lost a great friend, a great husband, and a great scientist. Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba. The papers that he edited in this 1976 book will tell us something about what he thought at the time. The book was indeed published just one year before the first issue of the Journal of Cultural Economics came out in 1977, and long before the field received international recognition with Throsby’s (1994) paper in the Journal of Economic Literature, the more recent book by Benhamou (2000), translated into several languages, and the Handbooks by Towse (2003), and Ginsburgh and Throsby (2006).

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