Chapter 16: From Austria to Australia: Mark Blaug and cultural economics
This chapter discusses the legacy of Mark Blaug for cultural economics. It revolves around two basic questions: first, what is the scope and purpose of cultural economics according to Mark Blaug? Second, what do we learn about Mark Blaug’s take on applied economics from his contributions to this field? The first question is of particular interest because Mark Blaug played a formative role in the economics of the arts and culture. He pioneered what he called the ‘economics of the arts’ in the 1970s, and he kept contributing to what came to be called ‘cultural economics’ ever since. Over more than four decades, he played an important role in establishing cultural economics as a recognized discipline in applied economics – even though he was not too fond of this term himself. A noteworthy constant in Mark Blaug’s writing is that it reflects a genuine interest in what many others have written. Similar to his work on the history of economic thought or the economics of education, for example, he kept taking stock of the literature on cultural economics, pointing out achievements, gaps and desirable extensions, which provide a useful point of orientation and inspiration for anyone concerned with cultural economics. Regarding the second question, Mark Blaug is of course much better known for his work on the history of economic thought and economic methodology. Yet, his publications on the economics of art and culture illustrate how Mark Blaug practised what he preached.
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