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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 18, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Borowiecki, Karol, The Origins of Creativity: The Case of the Arts in the United States Since 1850 (February 18, 2019). Discussion Papers on Business and Economics, University of Southern Denmark, 3/2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3339873 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3339873

Karol Borowiecki (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense, 5000
Denmark

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