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Creators’ Income Situation in the Digital Age

Alexander Cuntz

No 755, LIS Working papers from LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg

Abstract: The digital transformation imposes both opportunities and risks for creativity and for creative employment, with implications for trends in income levels and the distribution of income. First, we consider skill-biased technological change as a determinant of income and labor market outcomes in the arts. Arguably, the IT revolution has changed the demand for certain skills, with creative occupations being more in demand than general employment. Second, we consider declines in the costs of generating new works and artistic experimentation due to digital technologies, and their effect on the barriers to entry in labor markets. Third, we touch upon the rise of online contract labor in certain creative professions as a determinant of income. Here, online platforms can change creators’ access to work opportunities and it may alter the way income is distributed. We find that wage trends for creative workers in the digital age outperform general trends in the population: based on various data sources and various ways to identify creators, we see creators losing less or even gaining a better income position in relative terms. From a policy perspective, results do not lend support to the idea that creators’ income situation has systematically worsened with the rise of the internet and its intermediaries. Evidence on changing distributions of income is ambiguous as trends differ from one country to the next.

JEL-codes: J24 J28 J31 L82 O15 O33 O34 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cul, nep-ict, nep-ino and nep-lma
Date: 2018-12
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Published in Economic Research Working Papers, no. 49 (December 2018), World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva

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