Handbook of Cultural Economics, Third Edition
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Handbook of Cultural Economics, Third Edition

Edited by Ruth Towse and Trilce Navarrete Hernández

Cultural economics has become well established as a subject of interest for students and teachers of courses ranging from economics to arts administration as well as for policy-makers and practitioners in the creative industries. Digitisation has had a tremendous impact on many areas of the creative economy and the third edition of this popular book fully reflects it.
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Chapter 18: Cultural capital

David Throsby


Cultural capital can be defined as an asset which embodies, stores or gives rise to some form of cultural value independently of whatever economic value it may possess. It may exist in tangible form as artworks, cultural artefacts, heritage buildings and sites, and so on. Alternatively, cultural capital may be intangible, comprising artworks such as literature and music which exist in their pure form as public goods, and the stock of inherited traditions, values, beliefs and so on which constitute the culture of a group. This chapter considers issues involved in defining cultural capital, paying particular attention to the concept of cultural value. The relationships between cultural and natural capital are explored, leading to a discussion of the importance of cultural diversity and cultural sustainability. The principles of culturally sustainable development are briefly outlined.

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