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 23: Cultural value

Jen D. Snowball


While most people accept that the arts have value to society, not all would agree that this value is measurable, or that it should be measured. This chapter describes the types of value that the arts can provide and gives examples of how at least some aspects of their value might be quantified. The discussion includes market-based, revealed preference valuation methods, such as economic impact studies and cultural satellite accounts, as well as non-market stated preference methods, such as willingness-to-pay surveys. Cultural economic geography uses geographic information systems to show how the spatial distribution of cultural firms can be mapped to social and economic development indicators. Criticism of market-based approaches are that they measure only the instrumental values of culture, such as the additional tourist spending in a city as a result of a festival, and not the most important intrinsic values that are unique to culture itself. These debates are discussed in the light of the rise of cultural and creative industries discourse in the cultural policy field, as well as broader valuation methods linking cultural participation to quality of life.

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