Cultural Policy and Development: What are Creative Industries and Why Do We Care?

Christian Handke*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This chapter suggests a framework to structure debates on cultural policy, drawing on the discipline of cultural economics. The aim is to inform cultural policymaking, in particular in middle-income countries such as India, which experience relatively rapid socio-economic change. This chapter challenges some common preconceived ideas regarding cultural and creative industries (CCI) and cultural policy, which inhibit constructive engagement with culture. For instance, I argue that we should not get stuck in definitional issues. Second, sophisticated cultural policy is desirable not just because CCI are large, but because of the dual challenge of extensive market failure in CCI and the great potential for problems with government failure in cultural policy. Third, CCI and the luxuries they supply are not negligible in developing countries that experience rapid, general economic growth but also need to cater for a large share of their population with limited access to more essential goods and services, regarding, for instance, health, nutrition, and shelter. To the contrary, in the course of socio-economic development, CCI have an increasing role to play. Fourth, the labour intensity of CCI should not be misinterpreted as a reason for its relative decline in the course of technological change. Fifth, in the case of India, following the example of CCI-related practices and policies in highly developed economies may be misleading. Different intellectual property institutions may be required, and the celebration of individual superstar creators exhibited in many countries may inhibit wide CCI participation in India. The chapter concludes with suggestions for further research on three overarching topics. When does art follow wealth and at what levels of general socio-economic development does it start working the other way around? How can CCI promote upward social mobility? How can policymakers ensure that digitalization promotes the performance of CCI regarding productivity, efficiency, and equity under swiftly changing socio-economic circumstances?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCreative Industries in India
EditorsAbdul Shaban, Filip Vermeylen, Christian Handke
Place of PublicationDelhi
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781003129370
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2022

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