The Public Interest

The High Cost of Culture

Virginia Held

Winter 1967

Two economists, in a dispassionate study of the situations of the performing arts in the United States, conclude that the economic pressures besetting them have been growing, that these are likely to increase fairly steadily, and that permanent financial aid, rather than stopgap or one-shot infusions, will be needed to maintain the performing arts at even current levels. William J. Baumol and William G. Bowen’s study for the Twentieth Century Fund was recently published under the title: Performing Arts– The Economic Dilemma: A Study of Problems Common to Theater, Opera, Music and Dance. Its findings will be of interest to determined or potential performers, eager or grasping or enlightened producers and backers, climbing donors or philanthropic individuals and foundations, politicians and officials with local, state or federal ambitions or responsibilities, students and educators in or out of educational or other institutions, and anyone else with an affection for the performing arts, if the class is not null.

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