An Economic Theory of Avant-Garde and Popular Art, or High and Low Culture
Artists face choices between the pecuniary benefits of selling to the market and the nonpecuniary benefits of creating to please their own tastes. We examine how changes in wages, lump-sum income, and capital-labor ratios affect the artist’s pursuit of self-satisfaction versus market sales. Using our model of labor supply, we consider the economic forces behind the high/low culture split, why some artistic media offer greater scope for the avant-garde than others, why so many artists dislike the market, and how economic growth and taxation affect the quantity and form of different kinds of art.
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Volume (Year): 67 (2000)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
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