Artistic Rent Seeking
Does government support for the arts cause economic growth? Governor Blunt seems to think so:
"Public support of the arts should be driven less by ranking and more by just trying to help local organizations enrich people’s lives and create the sort of cultural amenities that are important in attracting knowledge-based workers and fostering economic development,”GOV. MATT BLUNT
Many economists disagree. Tyler Cowen writes that studies of the economic impact of arts funding "treat arts expenditures as creating value out of nothing." And David Galenson says that government funding for arts centers can actually drive independent businesses out of an area as property values rise:
Like a professional sports team, the value of a cultural center is in adding status to a city. Often, the only people who directly profit are real estate developers, Galenson says.
Funding for the arts is great for the people who get the money, but it’s not a formula to turn tax dollars into economic growth.