Do People Really Care About the Arts for Future Generations?
Many people argue that public art contains an element of “bequest value”: value derived by people today from the expected enjoyment of the art by future generations. In this paper, I investigate the existence of this claimed benefit. I employ an intergenerational model of the benefits from government subsidies and private charitable gifts to the arts, and fit it empirically using 1996 US General Social Survey data. The data analysis suggests that people take their life expectancies into account to some extent when giving to the arts or supporting government arts spending. Indeed, we cannot reject the hypothesis that people do not consider future generations in their current support for the arts. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004
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