Economic activity and innovation clusters in urban areas. Urban economics points to important knowledge and productivity spillovers in cities, in addition to other factors like thicker markets, lower transportation costs, and consumptive amenities. Yet thus far little work has analyzed how these different factors drive migration decisions of arts-related entrepreneurs, especially when they work in online platforms for fundraising. We use data on the largest US crowdfunding platform to identify relocating creators, allowing us to identify which kinds of regions are attracting and retaining more of this sort of talent. We test for the influence of clustering based on homophily, migration to larger markets, and relocation toward particular geographic amenities. Overall we find the strongest evidence for homophily and some distinct tendencies favoring certain regional amenities. Importantly, we both identify general relocation patterns among crowdfunding creatives and break down the attracting features for different types of creators. An examination of (net) migration by different categories of projects, such as musicians or filmmakers, reveals important heterogeneity in the attractors. For example, musicians are drawn stronger music sectors, while writers seek more isolation from other writers. This helps inform the interregional competition for talent and “creative class,” especially among a group of relatively footloose arts- and culture-intensive entrepreneurs.
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The strength of a region's traditional cultural funding infrastructure might crowd-out crowdfunding as conventional funding sources can be more readily found, although conversely it might crowd-in alternative fundraising via crowdfunding as more entrepreneurial activity flourishes. Either way, considering dynamics (i.e., relocation) rather than more static, overall “levels” of crowdfunding shifts our attention to the decision to relocate conditional on having already completed an initial crowdfunding campaign. From this perspective, it is less clear how the strength of a region’s traditional funding infrastructure would make the second project more or less likely to relocate. An entrepreneur in a traditionally stronger area might relocate their project to traditional funding deserts ahead of their second campaign to take advantage of a crowdfunding’s comparative advantage there. Conversely, they might relocate to traditional funding hotspots in search for positive spillovers and diversified funding sources (e.g., regular employment).
Of the 512 CBSAs with zero net migration, 104 had offsetting in-migration and out-migration (e.g., New Orleans had 28 in-migrants and 28 out-migrants) while 408 had no migration in this sample. A full 90% of all CBSAs had at least one Kickstarter project launched.
“Local” or more location-based projects are identified based on their subcategories, including architecture, community gardens, dance, festivals, installations, plays, public art, spaces, residencies, restaurants, theater, residencies, and workshops.
See the “Appendix” (Tables 7, 8) for the estimates of the first-stage of the point mass at zero net migration. The results for different categories of creators generally resemble those for All movers, with a few key differences. First, having more projects of the same type (not just any type) tends to be associated with nonzero net migration. In addition, more wealth and less creative class employment tend to be associated with greater likelihood of zero net migration. Yet differences across creator categories remain, such as an insignificant role of income for Music, Publishing, and Technology. Like the results for All movers, in general total population in the region is not significantly associated with the likelihood of having zero net migration of Local or Music creators. For the other categories of movers, however, it appears that very populous metro areas tend to be more likely to have zero net migration.
Performers, such as musicians, may have a higher propensity to relocate projects if they tour or temporarily relocate for performances. We split the data by subgroups to help account for this possibility. We remain interested in fundraising for a temporary project that brings economic activity to another city, even if the creator does not permanent relocate.
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Research support for this paper was provided by Hannah Nadler, Mackenzie Rice, and Michael Weigel. This paper could not have been written without the generous support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [Grant number 895-2013-1008], the National Endowment for the Arts [Award#: 1844331-38-C-18]. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not represent the views of the National Endowment for the Arts Office of Research & Analysis or the National Endowment for the Arts. The Arts Endowment does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information included in this material and is not responsible for any consequences of its use.
Research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada [Grant number 895-2013-1008] and the National Endowment for the Arts [Award#: 1844331-38-C-18].
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Noonan, D.S., Breznitz, S.M. & Maqbool, S. Flocking to the crowd: Cultural entrepreneur mobility guided by homophily, market size, or amenities?. J Cult Econ 45, 577–611 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10824-021-09415-6