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Defining the Creative Economy: Industry and Occupational Approaches


  • Ann Markusen

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Gregory H. Wassall

    (Northeastern University)

  • Douglas DeNatale

    (Community Logic, Inc.)

  • Randy Cohen

    (Americans for the Arts)


This article reviews conceptual and operational issues in defining the creative sector and its arts and cultural core. Some accounts use establishment data to measure creative industry employment, some use firm-level data, and others use occupational data. The authors examine how cultural-sector employment is conceptualized in three pioneering cultural economy studies driven by distinctive policy agendas and constituencies. Choices about which industries, firms, and occupations to include affect the resulting size and content of the cultural economy. In comparing these three studies and others, the authors show that the Boston metro's creative economy varies in size from less than 1% to 49%, although most cultural definitions range from 1% to 4%. The authors explore how policy makers might use a combination of methods to produce a richer characterization of the regional cultural economy and reflect on the relevance of good numbers to cultural policy and creative region formation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann Markusen & Gregory H. Wassall & Douglas DeNatale & Randy Cohen, 2008. "Defining the Creative Economy: Industry and Occupational Approaches," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 22(1), pages 24-45, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ecdequ:v:22:y:2008:i:1:p:24-45

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    Cited by:

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    2. Margaret Olfert & Mark Partridge, 2011. "Creating the Cultural Community: Ethnic Diversity vs. Agglomeration," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 25-55.
    3. Fikri Zul Fahmi & Philip McCann & Sierdjan Koster, 2017. "Creative economy policy in developing countries: The case of Indonesia," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 54(6), pages 1367-1384, May.
    4. Sara Cruz & Aurora Teixeira, 2015. "The neglected heterogeneity of spatial agglomeration and co-location patterns of creative employment: evidence from Portugal," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 54(1), pages 143-177, January.
    5. Carl Grodach, 2013. "Cultural Economy Planning in Creative Cities: Discourse and Practice," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(5), pages 1747-1765, September.
    6. Todd M. Gabe, 2011. "The Value of Creativity," Chapters,in: Handbook of Creative Cities, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Eckhardt Bode & Lucia Perez Villar, 2017. "Creativity, education or what? On the measurement of regional human capital," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96, pages 51-67, March.
    8. Sara Santos Cruz & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2012. "Industry-based methodological approaches to the measurement of Creative Industries: a theoretical and empirical account," FEP Working Papers 453, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    9. Ann Markusen & Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, 2013. "Spatial divisions of labor: how key worker profiles vary for the same industry in different regions," Chapters,in: Handbook of Industry Studies and Economic Geography, chapter 6, pages 171-190 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. repec:spr:qualqt:v:52:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0451-x is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Paul D. Gottlieb, 2011. "Supply or Demand, Make or Buy," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 25(4), pages 303-315, November.
    12. Teresa Farinha Fernandes & Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Andrea Morrison & Ron Boschma, 2018. "What Drives the Geography of Jobs in the US? Unpacking Relatedness," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1813, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Mar 2018.
    13. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:3:p:606-616 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Rafael Boix Domenech & Luciana Lazzeretti & Francesco Capone & Lisa De Propris & Daniel Sanchez, 2011. "The geography of creative industries in Europe: A comparison analysis in Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1501, European Regional Science Association.
    15. Laura REESE, 2012. "CREATIVE CLASS OR PROCREATIVE CLASS: IMPLICATIONS FOR LOCAL ECONoMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY," Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, Research Centre in Public Administration and Public Services, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 7(1), pages 5-26, February.
    16. Jacobs, Sofie & Cambré, Bart & Huysentruyt, Marieke & Schramme, Annick, 2016. "Multiple pathways to success in small creative businesses: The case of Belgian furniture designers," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5461-5466.
    17. David Audretsch & Maksim Belitski, 2013. "The missing pillar: the creativity theory of knowledge spillover entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 819-836, December.
    18. Elizabeth Currid-Halkett & Kevin M. Stolarick, 2011. "The Arts: Not Just Artists (and Vice Versa)," Chapters,in: Handbook of Creative Cities, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Boix, Rafael & Lazzeretti, Luciana, 2012. "Creative industries in Spain: a first view," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 22, pages 181-206.
    20. Bertacchini Enrico & Borrione Paola, 2009. "The city mouse and the country mouse: the geography of creativity and cultural production in Italy," EBLA Working Papers 200902, University of Turin.


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