Journal of Economic Surveys

Where Are We Now On Cultural Economics



A survey of progress in cultural economics since its virtual birth in 1966 with the publication of Baumol and Bowen, Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma, distinguishing between ‘theoretical progress’ and ‘empirical progress’. Following in the footsteps of Towse’s recent anthology of classic papers in cultural economics, I address nine topics that between them cover the subject, namely, (1) taste and taste formation, (2) demand and supply studies, (3) the media industries, (4) the art market, (5) the economic history of the arts, (6) the labour market for artists, (7) Baumol’s cost disease, (8) non-profit arts organisations, and (9) public subsidies to the arts. I conclude that there has been some theoretical and empirical progress in the treatment of almost all these topics.