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Culture and Public Finance

PFM, Vol. 4 No. 1, (2004)

This paper serves as a guide to the current literature on culture
and public finance, and as an introduction to the papers contained in
this symposium. Justifications for public funding of the arts have been
given on the traditional economists’ grounds of the correction of market
failure in the allocation of resources and in achieving a more equitable
distribution of resources, as well as by the communitarian ideal of the
state’s using its resources to shape the character of individuals and
society. Whatever the merits of these arguments for public support,
there are difficult public management and organization issues that
arise in the cultural sector that are different from those encountered
with other publicly-financed goods and services. For the effective
public finance of cultural goods the devil is in the details, and it is in
those details that we find new and promising research programs.

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