Chapter 18: Creativity
Ruth Towse Creativity is nowadays routinely invoked as having economic as well as cultural value, especially in the context of the creative industries, but it is an elusive concept for economists and there have been few attempts to develop an economic analysis of creativity. This is needed for two reasons: first, because the well-attested growth of the creative industries relies to a considerable extent on novel content supplied by creative and performing artists (hereafter ‘creators’); and second, because one of the main justifications for copyright law is that it stimulates creativity. Attempting to understand the motivation for individual creativity and, especially, whether it is amenable to economic incentives has barely been tackled directly in the cultural economics literature. Studies of artists’ labour markets, however, have thrown light on artists’ supply decisions in respect of their time allocation to creative and other income-earning work. Defining creativity A joint publication by several UN agencies concerned with the creative industries, Creative Economy Report 2008 (UNCTAD, 2008), adopts a broad (one might say too broad) view of creativity: it applies the term ‘creative’ to the creative economy, creative industries, creative cities, creative clusters and a range of creative goods and services. It offers this definition: ‘Creativity’ . . . refers to the formulation of new ideas and to the application of these ideas to produce original works of art and cultural products, functional creations, scientific inventions and technological innovations. There is thus an economic aspect to creativity, observable in the way it contributes to entrepreneurship, fosters innovation,...
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