Edited by Ruth Towse and Trilce Navarrete Hernández
Following an economic perspective, we analyse museums as economic agents. We assume that museums’ decisions can be analysed as guided by economic behaviour, that is, the maximization of an objective function under a set of economic and institutional restrictions. From this perspective, we allow room for various objectives, including the maximization of attendance and the maximization of profits. As economic agents, on the one hand, we can study how, by combining different inputs, museums produce different outputs, some not related to their collections. On the other hand, museums face different demand functions (one for each of the outputs). In this chapter, we outline the main characteristics of both the demand and supply sides of museums and, then, we study the logic of their incentives, which may or may not be defined by the market. Finally, museums may generate important externalities and, hence, these externalities can be considered as another social output.
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