Edited by Ruth Towse
Chapter 28: Economic Impact of the Arts
Bruce A. Seaman How might one answer the question: ‘What is the economic value of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to the city of Chicago?’ This type of question has many variations. The cultural asset need not be a single organization but may be an entire sector, such as the arts industry in Chicago. The geographical area in which to measure this economic impact need not be a city boundary, but may be an entire metropolitan area, several counties, a state or an entire region (or nation). The focus of the enquiry can also be a single event or series of events, such as the Mozart Festival in Salzburg, the Boston Pops summer concert series in Tanglewood, or Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro. Nearly identical issues are raised when the concept of a cultural asset is expanded to include sports- rather than arts-related subjects, and the comparison of those two sectors continues to be of great interest to both practitioners and academicians (see Crompton, 1995; Seaman, 2006b). Special challenges exist in the case of cultural assets that are non-market goods, for which the exclusion of non-payers is largely infeasible or impractical (e.g. icons such as the French language, the kiwi as the symbol of New Zealand, the Brandenburg Gate, or the Grand Canyon). While almost all cultural assets have non-market features, these cultural icons generate especially limited market data that can be used in the valuation process. But economics does have analytical options in even the most problematic cases....
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