Teaching Cultural Economics
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Teaching Cultural Economics

Edited by Trine Bille, Anna Mignosa and Ruth Towse

Teaching Cultural Economics is the first book of its kind to offer inspiration and guidance for teaching cultural economics through short chapters, a wide scope of knowledge and teaching cases by experienced teachers who are expert in the topic.
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Chapter 22: Consumer behaviour in the performing arts

Andrea Baldin


The chapter considers the topics of consumer behaviour in the performing arts and provides some suggestions for teaching the subject. The performing arts sector constitutes an illustrative example of how consumer behaviour in the cultural field does not fit the standard assumptions of the neoclassical economic theory. Therefore, teaching customer behaviour in the performing arts should help students to understand concepts such as the ‘nobody knows’ property, the ‘snowball effect’, ‘consumption capital’, learning-by-consuming, and so on. The chapter considers consumer behaviour with respect to the whole performing arts sector, as well as the demand for single opera performances. In particular, a participation study and the analysis of the repertoire by opera houses worldwide are used as starting points for questions to be discussed in class. These are aimed at deriving some behavioural patterns that can be explained through cultural economics theories.

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