Handbook of Creative Cities
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Handbook of Creative Cities

Edited by David Emanuel Andersson, Åke E. Andersson and Charlotta Mellander

With the publication of The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida in 2002, the ‘creative city’ became the new hot topic among urban policymakers, planners and economists. Florida has developed one of three path-breaking theories about the relationship between creative individuals and urban environments. The economist Åke E. Andersson and the psychologist Dean Simonton are the other members of this ‘creative troika’. In the Handbook of Creative Cities, Florida, Andersson and Simonton appear in the same volume for the first time. The expert contributors in this timely Handbook extend their insights with a varied set of theoretical and empirical tools. The diversity of the contributions reflect the multidisciplinary nature of creative city theorizing, which encompasses urban economics, economic geography, social psychology, urban sociology, and urban planning. The stated policy implications are equally diverse, ranging from libertarian to social democratic visions of our shared creative and urban future.
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Chapter 7: The Value of Creativity

Todd M. Gabe


Todd M. Gabe Some people are paid to work according to a set plan, while others earn a living from their creative ideas. Economists have a pretty good handle on the factors that influence the wages and salaries of those who ‘work for a living’. It’s all about productivity. Individuals who can produce a greater abundance of manufactured goods per hour or deliver services at a quicker pace typically earn more money than those who are less productive with their time. For this reason, plant-level investments in physical capital (for example, equipment and machinery that help automate routine and repetitive tasks) and information technology (for example, computers and digital networks that facilitate the management and transmission of information) typically enhance employee earnings. In addition, individual-level investments in human capital – actions like obtaining a college degree or learning a new skill – typically provide a productivity boost that is rewarded in the labour market. But what about creativity? Does the act of creative thinking result in higher wages? Unlike the deliberate and often scripted job-related tasks of producing a manufactured good, selling a product or providing a service, the less tangible and more spontaneous process of creative thinking does not always directly result in ‘stuff ’ that can be priced easily in a market.1 Without prices, it is difficult to determine productivity and, thus, tricky to figure out how much money someone should be paid. Looking at the numbers, we can see that creative thinking appears to be well compensated in the...

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