I’m Professor of Economics and Creative Industries, and I work on both cultural economics and economics of copyright. I do, and have done for the last 20 years, empirical work on both artists’ labour markets and on copyright as an incentive to individual creators. These are both fields that until recently were not popular, and I’m trying to work to promote these fields in certain ways.
One is by being leading on international associations such as the Association of Cultural Economics and the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues. I publish and edit books with the aim of raising standards and awareness in these subjects, and that includes a textbook of cultural economics. Also, in my time at Bournemouth, I have organised numerous colloquia in this field that has involved people from outside academia. I would describe myself as an academic for many years, who reaches out to the real world, but also to try and inform other academics, and I have to say, that this has not been the way to build a career as an economist. And I was lucky to be invited to work at Erasmus University which had a specialist course in cultural economics, and I think it’s great that CREATe is here in Glasgow where this is being taught – it has not been taught in England until very recently.
We must research whether copyright is an incentive, or the extent to which it is an incentive, to initial creators, I’m talking about the very start of the planning phase. We need very much more work on creativity, how does copyright help, or, does it help at all?
One of the things that’s important to understand is that major economics journals rarely publish articles on either of the fields that I work in, and that without that, life is very hard in academia, for economists. I think research councils and other people are beginning to understand that, but if you want to survive as an academic, you have to, especially in economics departments as they come along with the list of journals you know, there is the 4 star, 3 star, etc. and if you don’t get your four articles in those where they won’t take in your field, it’s very hard work. And I think that explains why very few academic economists have gone into this field.
An example I’ve had to give, one of the things I’m working on at the moment is a book on the economics of the impact of digitisation on the creative economy, and I’m writing myself a chapter for it, on the impact of digitisation on the performing arts. Now the Metropolitan Opera in York, has been broadcasting opera (it’s not really broadcasting, it’s simulcasting, transmission and so on) to cinemas all over the world, since the year 2006. That’s now 7 years ago, and there’s only been one study by NESTA, that had any economic analysis in it. And yet it could revolutionise the finance of the performing arts, and have considerable impact on access to the arts. So, we’ve talked a lot about creative industries from the reproductive side, but of course this is the live arts that I’m talking about, and I won’t speculate on that for the moment.
What’s the biggest issue that I’m concerned with? I think it’s the same for now and the same for five years – we must research whether copyright is an incentive, or the extent to which it is an incentive, to initial creators, I’m talking about the very start of the planning phase. We need very much more work on creativity, how does copyright help, or, does it help at all?
So, how can I relate to CREATe? Well, I would hope my professional academic experience, over 40 years, would help to work on the research applications and editing and that kind of thing, so it’s very personal and rather a minor contribution. I set up a master’s degree in cultural economics at Erasmus University and supervised PhD students there, and I think that’ll be a very supportive function of CREATe which we haven’t discussed at all. We must train a new generation of researchers, because there aren’t enough people around to do the work at the moment. So I think that is something.