Published 06 November 2009

Cultural industries in Swedish statistics

- Proposal on delimitation for future mappings

The Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis proposes that the concept of "cultural industries" be used instead of "creative industries", as the latter is too broad to be limited to a certain type of activity. Creativity is needed in all industrial branches. 

The term proposed "Cultural industries" has the merit of being anchored in "The 2009 UNESCO Framework for cultural statistics" and in the French Ministry of Culture's report to Eurostat. Both these reports provide arguments for identifying cultural industries from three different approaches: industrial classification, vocational classification and product classification. 

Cultural industries work mainly with those  parts of "use value" which are not purely technically functional, values which in this report are referred to as cultural values. These can be described as social, aesthetic, historical, spiritual, symbolic and authentic. Values which are intimately connected with the definition of culture from an anthropological perspective, namely the forms by which people choose and build their lives. How individuals consume and allocate time to different activities are parts of this. 

The definition chosen for cultural industries can be applied to existing Swedish register statistics, albeit with the shortcomings they have. The starting point, however, has been the most recent revision of the industrial classification since this has better disaggregation for the services sector. The disadvantage, however, is that analysis over time can not be done without a more detailed comparison of the amount of information lost between the earlier industrial classification system and the new one. The Agency will return to this in connection with its report on Part two of its commission. 

The proposal can be summarised in the following points:

  • Cultural industries instead of creative industries should be used as the term.
  • Cultural industries can be defined in existing statistics
  • A Swedish definition which can be easily adapted to match later harmonisation requirements for international comparisons.
  • Indicators for production of cultural values in the whole economy can and should be made based on the "trident" approach. 

It appears from the report that the definition can be used for the following purposes: 1) An estimate of "cultural industries in the economy (not the same as cultural satellite accounts) is another way of estimating culture in the national accounts 2) Regional distribution of cultural industries in the economy 3) Cultural industries by employees in these industries, and in cultural occupations outside these industries. 

In the first instance what is interesting in a measure of a specific industrial branch is how large this is in relation to other industrial branches, how it changes over time and its interaction with other industries. Cultural industries are important building blocks in regional development plans. The definition proposed can serve as an instrument or mapping tool when making comparisons between regions over what "resources" in terms of cultural value producers are available in a region, and which can be mobilised for different purposes 1 , such as promoting sustainable growth. The definition of cultural industries is, however, less appropriate as a variable for outcomes of regional development in the industries. 


Title
Cultural industries in Swedish statistics - Proposal on delimitation for future mappings

Serial number
WP/PM 2009:02

Reference number
2009/054

Download the reportPDF