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Department of Economics

Current Research Projects

  • Showcasing the project: The "Earning on Country" stall at the 2014 Garma Expo at the Gulkula site in East Arnhem Land
  • Interviewing in Yirrkala: the "Earning on Country" project engaged Yolngu interpreters to assist respondents in East Arnhem Land during survey interviews.

Individual Artists Survey 2016

Researchers: Professor David Throsby, Ms Katya Petetskaya

Funding: Australia Council for the Arts

Since 1983, surveys of practising professional artists have been carried out by Professor David Throsby and his colleagues at Macquarie University every six or seven years.  The survey findings have been widely used by government agencies, arts organisations and individuals across the arts as the most comprehensive and reliable source of statistics and information about the circumstances of professional arts practice that is available in Australia today.

A new survey of practising professional artists, the Individual Artists Survey 2016, is currently underway and the results will be released in April 2017. The survey will be the sixth that Professor Throsby and his research team have conducted, the earlier ones being in 1983, 1987, 1994, 2002, and 2009. A research grant for the 2016 survey was provided by the Australia Council. 

The 2016 survey aims to achieve a sample of around 1,500 practising professional artists: writers, visual artists, craftspeople, actors, dancers, musicians, composers, and community artists. The sample for interview will be drawn at random from the membership lists of about 150-200 arts organisations around the country. Survey interviews will be conducted by telephone during September-October 2016.

Previous Artists Survey reports

Do You Really Expect to Get Paid?

Don't Give Up Your Day Job

The value of Aboriginal cultural heritage: Cultural production and regional economies in Eastern Arnhem Land and the Western Desert

Researchers: Prof Throsby, Ms Petetskaya, jointly with Prof Howard Morphy (ANU).

Funding: ARC DP120101387 (2012-2014)

This project is investigating the potential of Aboriginal knowledge and cultural production as an important component of regional economic futures and as an integral part of Australia's ongoing cultural heritage. The empirical setting for the project is located in remote Aboriginal communities in Eastern Arnhem Land and in the Western Desert.

The Australian Book Industry: Authors, publishers and readers in a time of change

Researchers: Prof Throsby, Dr Zwar, Dr Longden, Mr Crosby.

Funding: ARC DP140101479 (2014-2016)

This project is analysing the effects of the rapid pace of technological change affecting the Australian book industry. It addresses the nature of responses to these changes at three principal points in the chain: authors, publishers and readers.

Valuation of cultural heritage: Measuring the economic and cultural values of historic heritage places

Researchers: Prof Throsby, Dr Zednik

Funding: CERF Environmental Economics Research Hub (2011-2016)

This study is developing methodologies for quantitative valuation of the use and non-use values of historic heritage places. The project is assessing the most effective measurement framework, determining how historic heritage places are to be categorised for measurement, and establishing the process by which heritage attributes can be determined for valuation.

Economic evaluation of World Bank heritage investments

Researchers: Prof Throsby, Ms Petetskaya

Funding: The World Bank (2011-12, 2013-14)

This project has developed methodologies for assessment of the economic and social impacts of investment in cultural heritage in the historic cores of towns and cities in developing countries. Applications have been undertaken in the cities of Tbilisi (Georgia) and Skopje (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), and in five towns in Jordan.

Cultural industries in the Pacific

Researcher: Prof Throsby

Funding: ANU Crawford School of Public Policy (2014).

This project is evaluating the role of the cultural industries as a source of growth, employment and sustainable development in Pacific island economies.

Modelling the creative industries in China

Researchers: Prof Throsby, Dr Xin

Funding: Internal (2014-2015)

This project is building a computable general equilibrium model of the Chinese cultural sector and estimating it using recent input-output data for the Chinese economy.

Unemployment experience in the Australian artistic labour market

Researcher: Dr Zawadzki

Funding: Polish Government and Nicolaus Copernicus University (2013-2014)

This project has used data from the 2009 survey of Australian practising professional artists carried out in the Department of Economics to analyse the determinants of unemployment experience of Australian artists across all art forms.

Nobody knows anything? Applying parimutuel information aggregation mechanisms to the motion picture industry

Researchers: Dr McKenzie, jointly with Prof Charles Plott (Caltech) and Dr David Court (AFTRS)

Funding: ARC LP110200336 (2012-2013)

This study investigates information aggregation with specific application to the theatrical box office performance of unreleased motion pictures. The project tests the mechanism across a number and variety of different films prior to their theatrical release.

File-sharing and film revenues: Is there a displacement effect?

Researchers: Dr McKenzie, jointly with Prof David Walls (University of Calgary)

Funding: University of Sydney (2012-2013)

This study examines the impact of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing on the Australian theatrical film industry. It analyses the release gap between the US and Australian markets as a key contributor to piracy early in a film's theatrical life.

Modelling black swans in entertainment with an application to motion pictures

Researchers: Dr McKenzie, jointly with Prof David Walls (University of Calgary)

Funding: Internal, University of Calgary (2014-2015)

This project investigates statistical methods for modelling returns in industries which are characterised by extreme events, e.g. blockbusters, which invalidate standard assumptions of ordinary least squares. The estimation strategy is applied to a sample of motion pictures released in the theatrical US market.

Talkin' 'bout my generation: The ephemeral nature of music tastes

Researchers: Dr McKenzie, jointly with Dr Liam Lenten (La Trobe University)

Funding: Internal, La Trobe University (2014-2015)

This study investigates the evolution of voting preferences in a long running music poll run by Australia's publicly-owned youth radio station Triple-J.

Graduated policy responses to digital piracy: Has it worked?

Researchers: Dr McKenzie

Funding: Internal (2014-2015)

This study investigates the effectiveness of five countries' graduated policies to digital piracy – sometimes referred to as the 'three-strikes' policy. The project uses data on 30 countries over the years 2009-2013 to consider whether these policies have had measurable effects on theatrical box office sales.