Baumol's Cost Disease: The Arts and Other Victims

Baumol's Cost Disease is the inevitable escalation of the real costs that occur in labour-intensive industries like the arts, health care and education. The labour costs in these industries tend to increase at the same rate as other industries, but their scope for utilizing labour-saving technical progress is either small or non-existent. The book opens with an introduction by Ruth Towse in which there is an overview of William Baumol's work. In this discussion Ruth Towse examines Baumol's work in the context of the development of the economics of the arts. The volume is then divided into parts and begins by introducing William Baumol's work through several autobiographical essays. This is followed by some of his early contributions to cultural economics and the cost disease. William Baumol's leading macroeconomic work on the 'unbalanced growth model' is also included and the debate about it at its inception. In parts three and four some of the more empirical papers on the arts are presented as well as essays on policy implications for the arts. Following this are chapters on the theatre and publishing as well as historical studies of the arts and the implications of the cost disease for libraries, health care and education. This book contains William Baumol's contribution to cultural economics and spans over 30 years of writing on the subject, much of which is not widely available. It provides a real insight into the development of Baumol's analysis and his perception of the problems of the arts and other labour-intensive sectors.