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Measuring intrinsic value – how to stop worrying and love economics


  • Bakhshi, Hasan
  • Freeman, Alan
  • Hitchen, Graham


This paper seeks to transcend entrenched misunderstandings between economists and arts policymakers, leaders and funders. These misunderstandings, which have long dogged discussion on arts funding in the UK, are most evident in the long-running debate about ‘instrumental’ and ‘intrinsic’ approaches to public expenditure on culture and the arts. As a general theory of public choice, economics provides tools for measuring the intrinsic as well as instrumental value of art in a way that is commensurable with other calls on the public purse. The reluctance to use rigorous economic methods has hindered rather than helped the case for the arts. This paper offers a provocative reconsideration of the outdated and poorly-informed prejudices which lie behind this reluctance. This is a prepublication draft. A version has been published electronically by Mission Models Money and can be accessed at

Suggested Citation

  • Bakhshi, Hasan & Freeman, Alan & Hitchen, Graham, 2009. "Measuring intrinsic value – how to stop worrying and love economics," MPRA Paper 14902, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:14902

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. R. F. Kahn, 1959. "Exercises In The Analysis Of Growth," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 143-156.
    2. Pasinetti,Luigi L., 2007. "Keynes and the Cambridge Keynesians," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521872270, May.
    3. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1984. "Value and Distribution in the Classical Economists and Marx," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 291-325, June.
    4. Solow, Robert M., 1979. "Another possible source of wage stickiness," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 79-82.
    5. Paul A. Samuelson, 2007. "Classical and Neoclassical harmonies and dissonances," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 243-271.
    6. Pierangelo Garegnani, 2007. "Professor Samuelson on Sraffa and the classical economists," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 181-242.
    7. Michael Mandler, 1999. "Sraffian Indeterminacy in General Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 693-711.
    8. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1983. "The Classical Theory of Wages and the Role of Demand Schedules in the Determination of Relative Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 309-313, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Allan, Corey & Grimes, Arthur & Kerr, Suzi, 2013. "Value and Culture," Working Papers 13_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.

    More about this item


    cultural economics; creative industries; innovation; internet;

    JEL classification:

    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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