Walter Santagata, Giovanna Segre, Michele Trimarchi

Economia della cultura: la prospettiva italiana

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Despite a slow start, in the last twenty years cultural economics has recorded a growing success in the Italian experience, with the birth and development of various research groups based in different areas of the Country. Often associated with training programmes, and always oriented towards an intensive flow of exchanges and joint projects with economists from other Countries, the research groups have respectively focused upon a variety of subjects and topics, ranging from cultural districts to public policy for the arts, from the features of cultural demand to the relationships between the public and the private sectors. Such an intensive and varied interest for cultural economics appears to be generated on one hand by a strong inclination towards the humanities and the favour for a multidisciplinary approach in carrying out research projects on the arts and culture; on the other hand, by the complexity of the Italian bureaucratic machine, requiring innovation and change and therefore «inviting» economists and political scientists to elaborate new interpretations and proposals. After twenty years, we can also emphasize the relevance of some shared interests, such as contemporary art and the design of cultural policy, whose twofold outcome is the high number of published works and the ability to support the elaboration of policy strategies and tools. If an «Italian» approach for cultural economics exists, it can be tracked in the non-prejudicial way in which the Italian economists have analysed a sector too often influenced by ethical arguments, being able at the same time to avoid the weaknesses of a merely mechanical and quantitative view of the cultural phenomena.

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