Using economic impact studies in arts and cultural advocacy



‘Economic’ impact studies have been popular in arts and cultural advocacy. Yet the application is inappropriate. ‘Economic’ impact studies are not designed for the purposes of advocacy. In the case of art and culture, they are more likely to be self-defeating. They also distract attention and resources away from the articulation of better advocacy arguments. Economists have warned against the use of ‘economic’ impact studies for advocacy, but their efforts have been only partly successful. This paper summarises the case against using ‘economic’ impacts for advocacy, concentrating on commonsense issues for easy digestion by non-economists.

Economic’ impact studies in arts and cultural advocacy: a cautionary note>
Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy, no.98 (February), 2001

About this paper

This paper extends the arguments in Discussion Paper: The Economic Benefits of Art. Many thanks to the publishers, who have kindly allowed the paper to be reproduced here.
Go to the Media International Australia home page


4 thoughts on “Using economic impact studies in arts and cultural advocacy

  1. Pingback: Creativity, health and arts advocacy «

  2. Pingback: Discussion paper: the ‘economic’ benefits of art | Christopher Madden

  3. Pingback: Modelling the economic impacts of cultural policies | Christopher Madden

  4. Ross Gittins, Economics Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald, has gone on the offensive against poor modelling, raising similar issues to those I outline in Using economic impact studies in arts and cultural advocacy.

    See Damned lies and economic modelling, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 February 2012.

    And also
    The very model of a future based on guesswork, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 2012.

    The articles have been prompted by the release of an interesting – though rather shoddily presented – research report released by the Australia Institute, The Use and Abuse of Economic Modelling.

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