Do artists really contribute to the knowledge economy? Bart Van Looy

7 December 2017





Do artists really contribute to the knowledge economy? Bart Van Looy


Seminars Business Group : The De Vinci Research Center Business Group combines the expertise from research professors in innovation, marketing, human resources, and entrepreneurial strategy. Key areas of research include improving technological learning models, understanding the impact of digital strategies on business ecosystems, and improving B to B customer relationships.

Invited guest:

Bart Van Looy is professor at KU Leuven (Innovation and Organization) at the department of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation (MSI), Faculty of Business and Economics and has a (part-time) research affiliation at the University of Twente (Institute of Governance Studies, OOHR). In addition, he teaches at the MBA program of Flanders Business School (Antwerp) where he also acts as scientific coordinator. Bart Van Looy is co-promotor of ECOOM (responsible for the service and research activities pertaining to Technometrics/Patent Analysis) and responsible for the research activities of INCENTIM (Research division K.U. Leuven R&D) which conducts applied and basic research in the field of innovation, technology and knowledge intensive entrepreneurship (in close collaboration with a.o. Eurostat and DG Research (EC)).

Seminar Topic: Do artists really contribute to the knowledge economy? An assessment on the level of EU15 regions.

Abstract: Since the introduction of the ‘creative class’, artists (bohemians) have been portrayed as contributing to innovation dynamics of cities and regions. Whereas qualitative evidence suggests the presence of spillover effects from the arts to the knowledge economy, quantitative analyses offer little or no support for a positive contribution of ‘bohemians’ to the (overall) innovative performance of regions. In this paper, we assess whether and to what extent artists contribute to innovative regional performance by making an explicit distinction between technological and aesthetic innovation. Relying on a panel dataset (2003 – 2011) of 190 European regions (NUTS 2) our findings reveal distinctive contributions of artists and scientists (and engineers) albeit in different activity realms. While scientists and engineers contribute to regional technological performance (measured by means of utility patents), artists have a significant impact on innovations of a more symbolic/aesthetic nature (measured by means of design patent).

Keywords: Creative class; artists; aesthetic/symbolic innovation; regional innovation; utility/design patents

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