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The Origins of Creativity: The Case of the Arts in the United States since 1850

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Abstract

This research illuminates the historical development of creative activity in the United States. Census data is used to identify creative occupations (i.e., artists, musicians, authors, actors) and data on prominent creatives, as listed in a comprehensive biographical compendium. The analysis first sheds light on the socio-economic background of creative people and how it has changed since 1850. The results indicate that the proportion of female creatives is relatively high, time constraints can be a hindrance for taking up a creative occupation, racial inequality is present and tends to change only slowly, and access to financial resources within a family facilitates the uptake of an artistic occupation. Second, the study systematically documents and quantifies the geography of creative clusters in the United States and explains how these have evolved over time and across creative domains. Third, it investigates the importance of outstanding talent in a discipline for the local growth of an artistic cluster.

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  • Borowiecki, Karol Jan, 2019. "The Origins of Creativity: The Case of the Arts in the United States since 1850," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 11/2019, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:sdueko:2019_011
    Note: A previous version was published as No. 3/2019
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Creativity; artists; geographic clustering; agglomeration economies; urban history;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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