Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Art of Counting

An update report from Indecon, Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland, was released by the Arts Council yesterday. We'll leave aside the general drift towards valuing or measuring the Arts in this way, particularly as an agenda-setter in the lead up to the annual Budget.

Consider instead the following information given with regard to film and see if it's possible to make the numbers fit with those contained in reports commissioned by the Irish Film Board in recent years.

Disparities may be down to several things, not least what's being counted and what the methodological basis is for the exercise. I can't help wondering if, for instance, the whole commercial cinema distribution and exhibition sector has been included or excluded.

Note particularly the last table which offers a subdivision by GVA (gross value added) of the 'Creative Industries'.

In order to determine the contribution of the wider arts sector to the Irish economy, it is necessary to consider both the Arts Council-supported organisations and individuals, and others not funded directly by the Council. In this chapter, the key impact variables assessed include Gross Value Added (GVA), expenditure, employment and exchequer tax revenues. (my emphasis in bold)

Gross Value Added (GVA) is defined as the difference between the value of goods and services produced for any given sector and the cost of intermediate inputs and consumption used in the production process. It is the nearest equivalent at sector level to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when measured across the economy as a whole.
In Table 3.1 [above] we estimate the GVA contribution of the relevant sub-sectors within the wider arts sector, as outlined above. The overall GVA contribution of the wider arts sector to the national economy was estimated to be approximately €715.9 million during 2010.
The largest subsector in terms of its contribution to overall GVA impact is Literature and Publishing, which accounts for an estimated €372.2 million. The next largest contribution is that of the film and video sub industry, amounting to an estimated €108.4 million. Arts Council-supported organisations account for a significant portion of the overall gross value added by the sector, contributing an estimated €52.3 million of the overall wider arts sector GVA.

Table 3.2 [above] presents the estimates of the total expenditure of the wider arts sector for 2010. This expenditure impacts the economy directly, indirectly and through induced impacts. The total direct expenditure impact of the wider arts sector in the Irish economy is estimated to be approximately €1.2 billion in 2010. Taking into account the multiplier impacts of this direct spend, the overall aggregate impact amounts to €1.55 billion. The largest contributor to the overall direct expenditure impact of the wider arts sector is the Literature and Publishing sector, which accounted for €563.3 million of the overall direct expenditure impact. Other significant contributors in terms of expenditure impacts include Film and Video, and Library, Archives, Museums and Other Cultural Activities, which contributed €151.6 million and €181.7 million respectively to the overall direct expenditure impact during 2010.

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