A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition
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A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition

Edited by Ruth Towse

The second edition of this widely acclaimed and extensively cited collection of original contributions by specialist authors reflects changes in the field of cultural economics over the last eight years. Thoroughly revised chapters alongside new topics and contributors bring the Handbook up to date, taking into account new research, literature and the impact of new technologies in the creative industries.
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Chapter 46: Performance Indicators

Giacomo Pignataro


Giacomo Pignataro The use of performance indicators in the arts is quite widespread nowadays.1 The basic reason for the development of this practice is that the scope for commercial profitoriented activity is very limited in most sectors of arts production, and the size of public and private contributions can be large. The different stakeholders cannot refer to any market signal, however imperfect it may be, to evaluate different aspects of arts production. Therefore there is a need to define ‘virtual’ measures of arts organizations’ performance so as to provide some empirical support to the judgement on the value of arts production. Different issues can be considered when analysing performance indicators. The first issue, discussed in the next section, is related to their design. The literature deals with different sets of indicators. The basic questions addressed in all this work are two: what to measure and which methodology is to be used? The second issue, discussed in the third section, refers to the actual use of performance indicators. If these measures respond to the general need for some form of ‘objective’ reference in the evaluation of the activity of arts organizations, in the absence of other signals like those originating in a market, they are then used for specific purposes and in different contexts. For instance, some indicators are used to monitor the performance of individual organizations, others are employed to determine the size of individual subsidies and still others are implemented to develop rational policies by funding organizations. There are...

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