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 56: Theatre

Marta Zieba


This chapter briefly reviews the definition of theatre and its institutional setting, then critically explores evidence on the various demand determinants of theatre by reviewing the previous aggregate demand and individual participation studies. While ticket price, income and education are found to be significant determinants of demand for theatre, we also discuss evidence on other demand factors, such as objective and subjective quality characteristics, past/future attendance and admission prices, as well as other socio-economic and demographic characteristics of individuals, such as occupation status, age and gender. There is still no agreement in the literature as to what the relevant substitutes or complements for theatre should be and how the digital supply could affect theatre attendance. Interestingly, the size of the market does not play a crucial role in theatre demand. Recent findings also suggest that utility of attending a particular type of play will be jointly determined by both the type of theatrical performance and the consumer’s characteristics. The chapter discusses the production, cost and productive efficiency of theatres. It also explores how public subsidies affect both the repertoire choices and theatre efficiency. Moreover, a short case study on German public theatres is presented that examines how the organizational form of the public theatrical firm affects theatre management behaviour and outcomes.

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