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The Matthew effect in art funding : how reputation affects an artist's chances of receiving government support

Julia Peters and Henk Roose (UGent)
(2022) POETICS. 92(Part A).
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Abstract
We examine how the reputations of visual artists affect their chances of being awarded a government grant. Using unique historical data (1965-2015) on 1) the decisions made by panels about grant proposals, and 2) the exhibition and grant histories of the artists applying, we find that those who are already successful are more likely to receive state support than their less well-known colleagues. There is a pronounced "Matthew effect" when we conceive of reputation as both an artist's exhibition history, as well as their success in relation to previous grant applications. We identify that the latter affects the odds of being awarded a grant differently at different moments in time: before the 1990s, the relevant panel frequently gave new applicants an opportunity to enter the grant system, whereas in recent years, it has become significantly harder for newcomers to obtain a grant. This change co-occurred with a shift in the Flemish cultural policy, from a regime that welcomes both professional and amateur artists, to one that concentrates exclusively on professionals. We argue 1) that a government grant is not only an economic, but also a symbolic resource, and 2) that cultural policy influences the ways in which cumulative (dis) advantages emerge and persist.
Keywords
Literature and Literary Theory, Linguistics and Language, Communication, Language and Linguistics, Visual artists, Reputation, Government grants, Matthew effect, Production of culture, FIELD

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MLA
Peters, Julia, and Henk Roose. “The Matthew Effect in Art Funding : How Reputation Affects an Artist’s Chances of Receiving Government Support.” POETICS, vol. 92, no. Part A, 2022, doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2021.101578.
APA
Peters, J., & Roose, H. (2022). The Matthew effect in art funding : how reputation affects an artist’s chances of receiving government support. POETICS, 92(Part A). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2021.101578
Chicago author-date
Peters, Julia, and Henk Roose. 2022. “The Matthew Effect in Art Funding : How Reputation Affects an Artist’s Chances of Receiving Government Support.” POETICS 92 (Part A). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2021.101578.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Peters, Julia, and Henk Roose. 2022. “The Matthew Effect in Art Funding : How Reputation Affects an Artist’s Chances of Receiving Government Support.” POETICS 92 (Part A). doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2021.101578.
Vancouver
1.
Peters J, Roose H. The Matthew effect in art funding : how reputation affects an artist’s chances of receiving government support. POETICS. 2022;92(Part A).
IEEE
[1]
J. Peters and H. Roose, “The Matthew effect in art funding : how reputation affects an artist’s chances of receiving government support,” POETICS, vol. 92, no. Part A, 2022.
@article{8763749,
  abstract     = {{We examine how the reputations of visual artists affect their chances of being awarded a government grant. Using unique historical data (1965-2015) on 1) the decisions made by panels about grant proposals, and 2) the exhibition and grant histories of the artists applying, we find that those who are already successful are more likely to receive state support than their less well-known colleagues. There is a pronounced "Matthew effect" when we conceive of reputation as both an artist's exhibition history, as well as their success in relation to previous grant applications. We identify that the latter affects the odds of being awarded a grant differently at different moments in time: before the 1990s, the relevant panel frequently gave new applicants an opportunity to enter the grant system, whereas in recent years, it has become significantly harder for newcomers to obtain a grant. This change co-occurred with a shift in the Flemish cultural policy, from a regime that welcomes both professional and amateur artists, to one that concentrates exclusively on professionals. We argue 1) that a government grant is not only an economic, but also a symbolic resource, and 2) that cultural policy influences the ways in which cumulative (dis) advantages emerge and persist.}},
  articleno    = {{101578}},
  author       = {{Peters, Julia and Roose, Henk}},
  issn         = {{0304-422X}},
  journal      = {{POETICS}},
  keywords     = {{Literature and Literary Theory,Linguistics and Language,Communication,Language and Linguistics,Visual artists,Reputation,Government grants,Matthew effect,Production of culture,FIELD}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{Part A}},
  pages        = {{14}},
  title        = {{The Matthew effect in art funding : how reputation affects an artist's chances of receiving government support}},
  url          = {{http://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2021.101578}},
  volume       = {{92}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}

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