City Taxes, City Spending
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City Taxes, City Spending

Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer

Edited by Amy Ellen Schwartz

An illustrious group of economists contribute to this volume honoring Dick Netzer, the public finance economist well-known for his research on state and local taxation, the provision of urban public services, and non-profit organizations. Following in his tradition, the contributors apply microeconomics to real world problems facing urban areas and use statistical analysis to gain insight into practical solutions.
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Chapter 8: The partially subsidized muse: estimating the value and incidence of public support received by nonprofit arts organizations

Joseph J. Cordes


8. The partially subsidized muse: estimating the value and incidence of public support received by nonprofit arts organizations Joseph J. Cordes INTRODUCTION Publication of The Subsidized Muse in 1978 marked an important milestone in the application of economic analysis in several respects. It provided one of the first comprehensive treatments, not only of the economic magnitude of public support of the arts in the United States, but also of the policy issues raised by such support. Moreover, because nonprofit organizations play a major part in the production and distribution of artistic goods and services, the book was also among the first to offer a detailed economic analysis of one of the most visible and important parts of the nonprofit economy.1 A hallmark of the economist’s approach to studying the arts is to remind (even unwilling) listeners of the marketplace’s role in guiding the allocation of resources and talents to artistic endeavors generally, as well as among different types of artistic activity. It is thus fitting to note that the marketplace offers one tangible acknowledgment of the intellectual importance of Dick Netzer’s contribution. Today, more than 20 years after its first release, the interested reader can order a newly reprinted copy of The Subsidized Muse which, like a well-loved musical performance or literary work, has been re-released as a ‘classic’ in public finance.2 Much has happened to public support of the arts since the late 1970s. Direct public support of the arts, which showed signs...

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