Cross-country comparisons of cultural statistics

Taxpayers money by Louisa Bufardeci

Image: Louisa Bufardeci

Cross-country comparisons are popular in cultural policy. This paper looks at how cultural statistics are used in the making of such comparisons. Analysts have identified a general ‘sloppiness’ in comparisons of cultural data between countries. This article documents some of the major problems in both data production and data presentation and provides a ‘checklist’ of good practice.

Published in Cultural Trends in 2005, the paper aims to provide guidance and ideas for anyone making cross-country comparisons of cultural statistics.

It has been cited in The Economics of Cultural Policy by David Throsby, by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, and was part of a bibliography produced by The International Social Survey Program.
View citations at Google scholar>

Read the paper:
Cross country comparisons of cultural statistics: issues and good practice>
Cultural Trends, volume 14 issue 4, 2005.

The Cultural Trends paper is based on an earlier Australia Council working paper, Making cross-country comparisons of cultural statistics: Problems and solutions, Research Centre Working Paper No. 2, 2004.

The Working Paper also appeared in a number of bibliographies, and was cited in Valuing culture in Oceania: Methodology and indicators for valuing culture, including traditional knowledge, in Oceania, a report for the Human Development Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (2010), and in  Religiosity, Secularism, and Social Health, Moreno-Riaño, Smith, and Mach, Journal of Religion and Society, volume 8, 2006 (!).

About the image
The image above is a detail of Tax Payer’s Money by Louisa Bufardeci, The work is a graphical illustration of the Australian Federal Budget’s Final Budget Outcome for 1999-2000, based on values for ‘expenses by function.’ The width of each painting illustrates comparative expenditures across fourteen divisions of expenditure. Individual colours within each painting reflect subsections of expenditure within each division.

I am very grateful to Louisa for letting me use the image.


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