The cultural industries as a sector of the economy

Autonomy and community

Authored by: David Throsby

The Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415706209
eBook ISBN: 9781315725437
Adobe ISBN: 9781317533986


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Interest in the role of the cultural industries as a sector of the economy can be traced back at least to the 1980s. Although the term “industry” applied to the arts was not in widespread use at that time, it was beginning to be recognised that the arts sector generated output, incomes, employment and exports that were of some economic significance. Arts advocates in a number of countries, concerned at the tightening of public budgets and an increased questioning of the rationale for government funding of cultural activity, turned to the economic contribution of the arts industries as a justification for continued financial support. In fact, simply demonstrating the economic size of the sector provided no such justification, although numbers showing the extent of job creation or the proportion of GDP that the arts contributed at least served to indicate that the cultural industries were not some economic backwater but a significant component of the macroeconomy. 1

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