Understanding the value of engagement in culture and sport.

Thursday, 22 July 2010 00:00 Matrix KG Surveys & Academic Research

What do we currently know about the value of engagement in culture and sport?

To date economists’ attempts to answer this question have tended to take the form of estimates of the impact of culture and sport on the economy, such as increased income and employment levels (see for instance Arts Council England, 1997; National Museum Directors’ Conference (NMDC), 2004 and 2006; Courtney et al, 2007; Ecotec, 2007; Sheffield Hallam, 2010). It is difficult to identify the value of individual engagements in culture and sport from such studies. Part of the value to the individual of engaging will be captured in the income earned by cultural and sport facilities as this reflects the amount people are willing to pay to engage. However, there are a number of reasons why market prices fail to capture the whole value of engagement.

People not involved in the decision to engage in culture and sport are nevertheless affected by it. When this happens, the impact on these people is not reflected in the market price – these impacts are referred to as ‘externalities’. For instance, the decision to engage in culture and sport may benefit future generations as it preserves the opportunity to engage by incentivising investment in culture or sporting assets to earn revenues now. However, the value to future generations is not explicitly represented in the decision to engage now, and thus assets will be preserved to a lesser extent than desirable.

Other externalities include the benefit to the community of improved health and social cohesion as a result of engagement in culture and sport. The physical activity associated with engaging in sport is associated with improved health outcomes. Healthy individuals will be more productive in the workplace, take fewer days off sick, and require less support from the NHS. These benefits fall to family members, co-workers, firms, taxpayers and generally the whole of society rather than just to the healthy individuals themselves, causing those individuals to under-invest in their health from a societal point of view.

Engagement in culture is associated with a better knowledge of one’s own culture and other cultures. Such outcomes provide a socialisation function, producing a common standard of citizenship and social cohesion. However, these benefits are experienced by society as a whole, rather than the individual deciding whether to engage in culture. Thus, from a societal point of view, too few people will decide to engage in culture.





 editors comments   

Editor's comments - [  The CASE programme is a joint strategic research programme led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and its sector-leading arms-length bodies: Arts Council England, English Heritage, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and Sport England. The aim of CASE is to use interdisciplinary research methods and analysis to inform the development of policy in culture and sport. CASE is closely linked to the Taking Part Survey.

The programme was set up in 2008 and the ‘drivers, impact and value of engagement’ project was commissioned in December of that year. A year and half later, and the largest single piece of policy research in culture and sport is published. This is no ordinary research project. It is almost a programme in itself, comprising 3 different strands, each with a major report. It is the most comprehensive piece of work in this field, assessing a huge range of research and data, setting the foundations for evidence-based policy-making in culture and sport upon which future work can build. In addition to the reports, two new tools have been created to help policy-makers employ the available evidence: A new, comprehensive research database and a new computer simulation model (each pretty much inaccessible to anyone outside of the project). These provide a step-change in the ability to build culture and sport policy using evidence, and to retain the future knowledge gained through new initiatives both in the UK and abroad. These resources, they argue, will add value to a huge range of activities in this sphere. both in terms of using data from the survey and in using the definitions of the sectors implicit in the choice of activities and levels of engagement included in the survey.  ]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>

In the text: Cryer (year)


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Reference : Matrix Knoweldge Group. (2010). Understanding the value of engagement in culture and sport. London: DCMS


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Download this file (CASE-value-summary-report-July10.pdf)CASE-value-summary-report-July10.pdfMatrix Knoweldge Group. (2010). Understanding the value of engagement in culture and sport. London: DCMS
Download this file (CASE-Value-technical-report-July10.pdf)CASE-Value-technical-report-July10.pdfUnderstanding the value of engagement in culture and sport. - Technical report