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Creativity, Incentive and Reward

An Economic Analysis of Copyright and Culture in the Information Age

Ruth Towse

Creativity is crucial to the Information Age economy. It is the basis of production in the cultural industries. In this excellent book, Ruth Towse provides an analysis of the interaction between creativity, the law, and markets for cultural goods and services. Copyright law establishes property rights that create economic incentives to cultural production and Ruth Towse uses her analysis to draw conclusions about policy on copyright. This unique study is of interest to a range of disciplines in economics, law, cultural studies and management.
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Chapter 9: Conclusions and Implications for Cultural Policy

Ruth Towse


Several strands run through this book: an empirical, institutional approach to cultural economics and to the economics of copyright; a belief that cultural economics should be at the forefront of understanding the importance of the creative industries in the information age; the primacy of creativity in the cultural sector and therefore of the importance of analysing artists’ supply behaviour and their response to incentives and rewards; the inherent riskiness, even radical uncertainty, of producers and products in the creative industries, which often results in over-supply even in private enterprise; copyright as an incentive to creative activity through the internalisation of rewards; the unintended consequences of some copyright legislation. I have tried to integrate these strands and to draw conclusions for cultural policy from them. In this chapter, I justify this approach and move the debate on by arguing that the information age calls for a unification of cultural policy with that on copyright and the cultural industries. AN EMPIRICAL APPROACH Like many economists of my generation, my first experience of economics was a combination of what used to be called ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ economics, that is, we learned economic theory and we studied industrial organisation, much as management students do today, by looking at what firms in a selected industry actually did. Curiosity about the ‘real world’ was an important motivation for studying economics. I have retained that interest, despite the changes in economics as a discipline that have taken place. That interest is nurtured by theory, however, and I...

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