The Origins of Creativity: The Case of the Arts in the United States Since 1850
Discussion Papers on Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, 3/2019
55 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 18, 2019
This research illuminates the historical development of creative activity in the United States. Census data is used to identify creative occupations (i.e., artists, musicians, authors, actors) and data on prominent creatives, as listed in a comprehensive biographical compendium. The analysis first sheds light on the socio-economic background of creative people and how it has changed since 1850. The results indicate that the proportion of female creatives is relatively high, time constraints can be a hindrance for taking up a creative occupation, racial inequality is present and tends to change only slowly, and education plays a significant role for taking up a creative occupation. Second, the study systematically documents and quantifies the geography of creative clusters in the United States and explains how these have evolved over time and across creative domains. Third, it investigates the importance of outstanding talent in a discipline for the local growth of an artistic cluster.
Keywords: Creativity, Artists, Geographic Clustering, Agglomeration Economies, Urban History
JEL Classification: R1, N33, Z11
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