In the past two decades a substantial international literature on the economics of the arts has accumulated. Aside from the importance of the cultural contribution made by the arts, interest in the subject among economists has been elicited by some special attributes of the economics of the arts which have proved interesting analytically and whose analysis has had significant applications outside the field. Notable is the ‘cost disease of the performing arts’ which has been proposed as an explanation for the fact that, except in periods of rapid inflation, the costs of artistic activities almost universally rise (cumulatively) faster than any index of the general price level. Another major theoretical issue with which the literature has concerned itself is the grounds on which public sector funding of the arts can be justified.
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