Chapter 15: Mark Blaug and the economics of the arts
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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