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October 2007, Vol. 130, No. 10
The economic impact of the creative arts industries: New York and Los Angeles
Michael L. Dolfman, Richard J. Holden, and Solidelle Fortier Wasser
Two U.S. counties—New York and Los Angeles 1—have become image-producing, critical forces that provide high visibility and a global reach for American cultural values. By clustering arts, entertainment, and cultural organizations, these two regions have developed into major strategic sites that consolidate vast concentrations of creative resources. The result is an infrastructure that has secured for them—and, by extension, the United States—a dominant place on the global cultural scene. These arts, entertainment, and cultural organizations form the core of three sectors whose interrelationships with each other magnify their impacts. Awareness of these synergies has led many to associate New York and Los Angeles "with a distinctive aura and mystique in the form of certain impressions, personae, memories, styles, [and] trends."2 Although each of the two counties is located within its own distinct geographic boundaries, the reach of the cultural output of both New York and Los Angeles has global implications. National and international views of American cultural patterns are often formed on the basis of individual impressions of New York or Los Angeles as places, through the presentation of those impressions in artistic, entertainment, and cultural venues.3
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1 The smallest geographic units that can be analyzed with the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) database are counties. Thus, in this article, New York refers to New York County (that is, Manhattan), whereas Los Angeles refers to the county of the same name, which includes the city and surrounding suburbs.
2 Alan J. Scott, "The Craft, Fashion, and Cultural-Products Industries of Los Angeles: Competitive Dynamics and Policy Dilemmas in a Multisectoral Image-Producing Complex," Annals of the Association of American Geographers, June 1996, pp. 306–23.
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