Edited by Trine Bille, Anna Mignosa and Ruth Towse
Chapter 8: Cultural value and economic value in arts and culture1
Can economic value express the ‘total’ value of cultural goods or does cultural value somehow elude economic valuation methods? Some prominent cultural economists – such as Throsby, Hutter and Frey – have questioned whether cultural value can be ‘translated’ into economic values using the methods of contingent valuation. The claim is that cultural value cannot be disaggregated into individual utilities, and by extension, broken down into individual preferences and choices. Rather, it captures something ‘irreducibly social’ that cannot be accounted for using economic valuation techniques. We are left with value pluralism where cultural and economic values are not mutually exchangeable. As the current chapter suggests, this might have consequences for how we think about the value of arts and culture and how we communicate this value to policy makers and the public at large.
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