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This year has been declared by the UN General Assembly as the International Year of the Creative Economy and Sustainable Development.

Creative industries have also become one of the most popular topics for discussion among Russian economists and government officials. This is not least due to the fact that everyone finds something of their own in the creative sector. Some see it as a potential for the development of culture, others – the preservation of traditions and folk crafts, and still others – a channel of diplomacy and soft power. Dialogue with young people, the introduction of digital technologies, the development of the intellectual property market, the revitalization of cities are other important tasks of the creative industries. Can we talk about creative industries as a new reliable source of economic growth?

The value of creative industries for the economy is not obvious for various reasons. First, a fairly significant portion of the creative industries are local activities focused on meeting local demand with limited scaling and export potential. Secondly, creative activity is not always aimed at making a profit. This is a feature, not a flaw, because a person is not reducible to an economic function. Thirdly, representatives of the creative sector often prefer to be out of sight of the tax and statistical authorities of the state. Most creators do not have factories or machines, they are inseparably woven into the fabric of urban life. Being invisible, the creative sector falls out of the outline of the state’s economic policy.

Can we conclude that there are no effects of creative industries on the economy? Not at all. Creative industries influence the economy, but not automatically, but through special channels that determine the scale of such influence. Let’s consider the key ones.

First, the creative economy offers significant opportunities for small business and employment. As our calculations have shown using the example of Moscow (the report “The Creative Economy of Moscow in Figures” by the National Research University Higher School of Economics), almost half of the subjects of the creative sector of the capital are individual entrepreneurs. In a number of industries, they dominate: photography (84.7 percent), art industry (84.4), design (79.1), music (77.5), film and animation (67.4).

Mobility is the other side of small business: about 17 percent of organizations and 41 percent of individual entrepreneurs in the creative sector of the capital were created in the last three years.

The experts of the European Commission on “smart” specialization note that employment in the creative sector is atypical: it is more flexible, project-based, mobile, requiring individual skills. A number of creative industries employ young and old, housewives and retirees, who do not always find their way into traditional industries. Taking into account the nature of employment in this sector, an important condition for realizing the creative potential of the population is the comfort of the business environment and the convenience of regulatory regimes.

Creative industries contribute to the renewal of urban economies by populating depressed industrial areas, making up for environmental imbalances.

Second, many creative industries have significant scaling and export potential. First of all, these are information technology and video games, the film industry, music, publishing, performing arts, design and fashion. It is curious that, according to the Federal Customs Service, a significant part of the Russian export of creative goods is made up of books, brochures and newspapers aimed at a large audience of Russian-speaking citizens living abroad. Focusing on scalable creative industries with export potential is a rational economic solution. For example, in the UK, the Creative England agency, which is responsible for the development of creative industries in regions (excluding London), primarily supports the film industry, television, video games and digital media.

Third, in the creative sector, new business empires are being formed around celebrity personalities and teams. It is the stars who receive the main benefits, attract other creative players and contribute to the economic development of the territory. At the same time, the “champions of the creative world” are demanding in their place of residence and work. According to our calculations, six world cities – leaders in the development of creative industries account for 90 percent of the most collectible artists, 80 percent of highly-rated films, 70 percent of the most influential people in contemporary art and competitive fashion brands each (the report “Rating of the innovative attractiveness of world cities” NRU HSE ). Attracting such stars from all over the world, discovering their own talents in a timely manner, creating a “green corridor” for the development of their businesses is another tool for unlocking the economic potential of the creative sector. How to attract money from private investors to projects for creating creative spaces is a key issue for regional and city authorities.

Fourth, creative professionals are in demand not only in the creative industries. The competitiveness of many traditional industries depends on their productivity. For example, in Moscow, 54.6 percent of creative workers are employed in industry and other sectors of the city’s economy. Abroad, many support programs are aimed specifically at launching the creative development of key industries of specialization. For example, the Finnish Kaleidoscope project supports cooperation between the creative industries and metallurgy, and the New Zealand Excellence Through Design program subsidizes design costs for local exporters. The key area of ​​support here is the introduction of modern practices for accounting and management of intellectual property objects.

Fifth, creative industries contribute to the renewal of urban economies by populating depressed old industrial territories, making them attractive to residents and businesses, and making up for the environmental imbalances of the industrial era. Empirical studies of the Moscow economy have shown that representatives of creative industries tend to be located next to their own kind. This factor is stronger than the proximity to the city center, metro stations, cultural monuments and specialized educational organizations. This means that creative people need special spaces to interact. It is not surprising that creative clusters are seen as a key support tool both in Russia and around the world. How to attract money from private investors to revitalization projects and the creation of creative spaces is a key issue for regional and city authorities.

Finally, creative industries increase the tourist attraction of the area. In European countries, 15 percent of all tourism employment is associated with serving culturally motivated travelers. The integration of creative industries and tourism, the formation of a culture-based tourism brand for the territory is another opportunity to put creativity in the service of the economy.

Let’s summarize. The economic impact of creative industries depends not only on the quality of the creative element that underlies them, but also on how specific channels work to connect creativity and the market. An important role of the state is to create and maintain these channels, providing an opportunity for creative people and teams to quickly and effectively realize themselves in the economy.

Source: Russian exporter


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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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