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Perché i governi finanziano le arti

Rent-Seeking in Arts Policy

Anno XXIV, n. 104, gennaio-marzo 1989
Centro Einaudi


Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

The argument of this paper is that rent-seeking is an important reason why governments assist the arts. Its necessary conditions are: (1) that the economic structure of the arts lends itself to rent-seeking, (2) that the arts not only receive assistance but solicit it, and (3) that the assistance clearly benefits those who solicit it while others benefit less, or not at all, even though they are said to.
Therefore, government assistance to the arts is an involuntary transfer of resources from the public to arts organizations and their audiences. The transfer is not resisted because the cost to those who lose is small and they are numerous while the recipients are few and they benefit substantially. There are other conditions that also favour rent-seeking. That rents are, in fact, sought and obtained is evident in the behaviour of arts organizations. That they and their audiences are the main beneficiaries is evident from examination of the form in which the assistance is given.