Politics, management, and the allocation of arts funding: evidence from public support for the arts in the UK

Anthony M. Bertelli, Jennifer M. Connolly, Dyana P. Mason & Lilian C. Conover
International Journal of Cultural Policy, 20:3, 341-359, DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2013.786057

Studies of distributive public policy claim that electoral incentives shape the geographic distribution of government grants to individuals and organizations, such as those in arts and culture. Public management scholarship suggests that managers bring value to their communities and stakeholders within them through their capacity and skill. This study combines these literatures in a quantitative study of the geographic distribution of Grants for the Arts (GFA) in the UK between 2003 and 2006. Employing statistical regression techniques for count data, we find that GFA program in this period had a nonignorable distributive political character. Local authorities with swing voters for the governing party in Westminster received more GFA grants than did local authorities with its core supporters. We also find significant evidence that, at the same time, well-managed local authorities, as measured by performance assessment ratings, act as a magnet for GFA grants. Our conceptual discussion, quantitative modeling strategy, and results blend distributive politics and public management in a novel way for the study of cultural policy.

Wagner Faculty