Analyzing Arts and Cultural Infrastructure Regional Spillover Effects at Universities

Authors: Joanna Woronkowicz*, , Douglas Noonan, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: universities; arts; culture; spillovers
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Universities represent an enormous density of investment and resources, concentrating and creating high-human capital citizens increasingly seen as critical to advancing regional quality of life. While universities’ prominent role in promoting regional economic growth, innovation, and attractiveness receives considerable research attention, most of that attention is paid to aspects of universities that are directly related to STEM activity. This study examines whether the high-cost capital investments that universities host and help provide are limited to the STEM, or whether spillovers occur for universities’ large capital investments in the arts and culture given that many universities are the dominant provider of a region’s arts and cultural activity. Specifically, we focus on university investments in arts and cultural infrastructure and whether these investments have any effects on regional-level outcomes, such as employment among creative professionals and high-tech and creative firm start-ups. We use building permit data on physical arts infrastructure from McGraw-Hill Construction, Inc. and data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which include information on arts curricula and administrative data for every college, university, and technical/vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. We couple these data with public data on regional-level socioeconomic indicators from the Census and elsewhere to identify effects using three alternative quasi-experimental designs: difference-in-differences, propensity-score matching, and a two-stage combination of both.

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