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Artistic Clusters and Modern Artists’ Mobility - An Empirical Study

Christiane Hellmanzik, Department of Economics and IIIS, Trinity College Dublin


Based on a global sample of the 214 most prominent modern visual artists born
between 1850-1945, this paper analyses the extent of mobility and the determinants
of the decision to locate in the artistic clusters of Paris and New York. It is argued
that the extent of mobility decreases over time and traveling is a complement to relocating
permanently. Moreover, French and German artists move considerably less
and American artists significantly more than their counterparts born elsewhere. A
location choice model shows that the affiliation with an artistic style is a good predictor
for the likelihood of moving to a cluster. This can be explained by specialised
human capital spillovers. For both clusters, short-term visits are a substitute for
permanent relocation. Having received formal art training increases the likelihood
of moving to New York, whereas the patronage system is an important relocation
factor only in the case of Paris.

Keywords: Modern artists, geographic concentration, economic geography, mobility,
human capital

JEL Classification: J61, N90, Z11

Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).