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What Values Should Count in the Arts? The Tension between Economic Effects and Cultural Value

  • Bruno S. Frey

The basic distinction made in this volume compares ?economic value?, expressed in monetary terms, to ?cultural value?, reflecting cultural, aesthetic and artistic significance. This paper makes a different distinction which is rarely made explicit but which is of central importance to the decision process in cultural policy. On the one hand, ?value? is attached to the economic effects of cultural activities: When cultural values are created, economic activity is bolstered. The increase of commercial actitivities induced is measured by the so-called ?impact effect?. On the other hand, the value of culture is reflected in the increased utility going to consumers and non-consumers of a particular cultural activity. This type of value is measured by ?willingness to pay studies?. I argue that these two values dominate cultural policy but they capture totally different aspects and are proferred by different kinds of communities.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2005-24.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2005-24
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  1. Douglas Noonan, 2003. "Contingent Valuation and Cultural Resources: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Literature," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 159-176, November.
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521586399 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Throsby, David, 1994. "The Production and Consumption of the Arts: A View of Cultural Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 1-29, March.
  4. Eric Thompson & Mark Berger & Glenn Blomquist & Steven Allen, 2002. "Valuing the Arts: A Contingent Valuation Approach," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 87-113, May.
  5. Walter Santagata & Giovanni Signorello, 2000. "Contingent Valuation of a Cultural Public Good and Policy Design: The Case of ``Napoli Musei Aperti''," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 181-204, August.
  6. Richard Epstein, 2003. "The Regrettable Necessity of Contingent Valuation," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 259-274, November.
  7. Trine Hansen, 1997. "The Willingness-to-Pay for the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen as a Public Good," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 1-28, March.
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