The Economics of Cultural Policy
By David Throsby, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2010., 277 pp, ISBN 978-0-521-68784-3
The book The Economics of Cultural Policy is in some respects a sequel to David Throsby's earlier work for Cambridge University Press, Economics and Culture (2001), and is written with the objective to fill a gap in the cultural policy literature by analyzing the process of cultural policy from an economic perspective, covering both theoretical and practical aspects.
The book is organized in 15 chapters. The first three chapters are essentially definitional and, as well as the concluding chapter, they provide an overall overview of the state of contemporary cultural policy. The first chapter explains the importance of cultural industries in focusing more strongly on the economic aspects of culture. Chapter 2 deals with changes in cultural policy by examining the way in which the scope of cultural policy has expanded. This chapter also examines the definitions for cultural goods and services, economic and cultural value, as fundamental concepts which some later discussions in the book are based on. Chapter 3 defines the artistic and cultural objectives of cultural policy from the economic point of view. What instruments are available to the government to achieve them, and how the government measures whether the desired objectives have been achieved are discussed as well as their efficiency and effectiveness.
Further chapters consider specific areas of concern to public cultural policy starting with creative arts in Chapter 4 as the important central component that has been the primary focus for cultural policy in the past. It is discussed in detail how arts policy is implemented through direct support for artists, arts organizations and consumers provided by a Ministry of Culture or an Arts Conucil, and indirect support provided via the tax system. The next chapter considers cultural industries and offers suggestions on how to identify, measure and analyze the economic contribution of cultural industries. Chapter 6 identifies three types of cultural heritage: built or immoveable heritage, moveable heritage and intangible heritage. It is hard to dustinguish what can be preserved and what cannot, and how simple economic concepts can be readily applied to the analysis of decisions concerning cultural heritage.
The next chapter is devoted to the arts and culture in urban development as one of primary concerns of regional and local administrations. Chapter 8 examines the contribution that tourism makes to the national, regional or local economy; impact studies of particular projects and efforts to define sustainable tourism are also discussed. The author defines two models of cultural tourism, one that is oriented towards mass tourism and one that refers to the niche market.
The following chapters examine a range of other specific cultural policy areas: trade, urban issues, cultural diversity, economic development, intellectual property and cultural statistics. Main cultural trade issues are being discussed such as granting of special treatments towards cultural goods, export of national treasures, as well as non-trade issues in international cultural relations including cultural exchange, cultural diplomacy and intercultural dialogue. Chapter 11 refers to the interconnection between education and culture in society.
In chapter 12 the author analyzes the contribution of culture in economic development where the key role is sustainability. One of the topics that the author focuses on in chapter 13 is the effect of new technologies on art considering that sound, text and image now can be fixed in digital form, which means that an infinite reproduction can be made at zero cost. Also two ways of copyright protection are discussed: detecting an illegal copying and 'if you can't beat them, join them'. All the chapters are followed by practical examples on how cultural policy takes shape in real life.
This book is meant for everyone concerned with cultural economics and cultural policy such as policy analysts and researchers interested in an economic model of the cultural policy process and policy makers themselves who are dealing with everyday problems of managing the state's role in regard to the arts and culture in the contemporary market economy.
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