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Do People Really Care About the Arts for Future Generations?


  • Arthur Brooks



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

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur Brooks, 2004. "Do People Really Care About the Arts for Future Generations?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(4), pages 275-284, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jculte:v:28:y:2004:i:4:p:275-284 DOI: 10.1007/s10824-004-2984-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gapinski, James H, 1986. "The Lively Arts as Substitutes for the Lively Arts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 20-25, May.
    2. David Popp, 2001. "Altruism and the Demand for Environmental Quality," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(3), pages 339-349.
    3. Brooks, Arthur C, 2001. "Who Opposes Government Arts Funding?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 108(3-4), pages 355-367, September.
    4. Kao, Chihwa & Wu, Chunchi, 1990. "Two-Step Estimation of Linear Models with Ordinal Unobserved Variables: The Case of Corporate Bonds," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(3), pages 317-325, July.
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    art subsidies; bequests; non-use values;


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