Public Support of the Arts
The supply of art deviates in several respects from the ideal of a well-functioning market. Deficits continually increase. On the demand side, problems are caused by merit goods, external benefits in production and consumption, and public goods. People value the options, existence, bequest, education, and prestige connected to the arts. These failures seem to speak in favour of government stepping in. However, government intervention is also liable to failure. Decisions taken in the political process may deviate systematically from the preferences of the population. Nonetheless, citizens are quite willing to support the arts with substantial funds if asked to in popular initiatives and referenda.
KeywordsWell-functioning market Market failure Declining cost Productivity lag Income distribution Merit goods External benefits External cost Public goods Non-use values Existence value Bequest value Education value Prestige value Government intervention Government support Art expenditures Tax expenditures Donations Preferences Constitution Democracy Popular initiatives Popular referenda
This chapter partly follows
- Frey BS (2003) Public support. In: Towse R (ed) A handbook of cultural economics. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK and Northampton, MA, pp 389–398Google Scholar
The market failure approach is developed in many textbooks and readers on cultural economics.
- Specific monographs dealing with the public support of the arts include, for example, Google Scholar
- Towse R (ed) (1997) Cultural economics: the arts, the heritage and the media industries. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK and Lyme, USGoogle Scholar
- West EG (1985) Subsidizing the performing arts. Ontario Economic Council, TorontoGoogle Scholar