Putting a Value on Creative Capital

A new report from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates the impact that all those actors, writers, and artists have on the national economy.

1 minute read

December 6, 2013, 1:00 PM PST

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"Talk all you want about 'cultural capital,' but it turns out art has a real, tangible impact on the national economy," writes Bill Bradley. The "Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account" is the first federal effort to analyze the impact of the arts and cultural sector on gross domestic product (GDP). 

The BEA and NEA found that the two million people working in creative industries in 2011 "accounted for 3.2 percent — a grand total of $504 billion — of the country’s GDP," notes Bradley. "That’s more than tourism, which clocked in at 2.8 percent of the GDP."

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. "With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time."

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