Unpacking predictors of income and income satisfaction for artists
Economic Research Working Paper No. 50
Author(s): Alexander Cuntz, Angie L. Miller | Publication year: 2018
The stereotype of the “starving artist” is pervasive in modern Western culture, but previous research on artists and income is mixed. The goal of this study is to explore how several demographic variables, along with self-reported behaviors and artistic activities associated with non-monetary and monetary motivators, predict income and income satisfaction for artists.Using unique survey data on current working artists in the United States, we provide empirical evidence on substantial reputational rewards and rewards from altruistic behaviors as important sources of artists’ utility and, arguably, sources of their motivation to create new works. Moreover, we find that the evidence on “procedural” utility from working in the arts is less straightforward, and we find that many artists are pooling and diversifying financial risks on household levels. Overall, quantitative findings indicate that artists may have different criteria and conceptualizations when it comes to income, and they may derive value from their work in a variety of ways aside from income.