What makes an artist? The evolution and clustering of creative activity in the US since 1850

Karol Jan Borowiecki*, Christian M. Dahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This research illuminates the historical development and clustering 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 access to financial resources within a family facilitates the uptake of an artistic 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103614
JournalRegional Science and Urban Economics
Volume86
Number of pages23
ISSN0166-0462
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Agglomeration economies
  • Artists
  • Creativity
  • Geographic clustering
  • Urban history

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'What makes an artist? The evolution and clustering of creative activity in the US since 1850'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this