Economies of scope in artists’ incubator projects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although economies of scale are relatively well studied in the arts, economies of scope have received less attention. Yet recent trends toward freelancing and technological connectivity make scope economies especially timely in addressing structural challenges to artist-led incubators. This paper offers a conceptual framework for cooperative strategies that employ economies of scope both in the economic sense of joint production and in the financial sense of risk pooling. This framework distinguishes franchise, federation, and resource-sharing organizational structures as developed through case studies of two US-based organizations: ArtBuilt and REC (Resources for Every Creator), placed in a larger context of cooperative organizational strategy in the USA and Europe. The proposed strategies of cooperative networks (quasi-franchises, federations, or resource-sharing networks) also draw on a literature of spatial agglomeration in creative industries. The framework leads to more speculative ideas of “balance-sheet philanthropy” through credit backstopping by foundations, and of novel investment trusts that can be piloted across a range organizations including foundations, grant-makers, artist residency programs, and even for-profit companies engaged in reinsurance. The paper contributes managerial tools and strategies for the creative engagement of capacity building in arts organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-631
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cultural Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Creative industries
  • Cultural economics
  • Economics of art and literature (Z11)
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Property and intellectual capital (O34)
  • Property rights (P14)
  • Real estate services
  • Social innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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