What's the Latest Development?
Newly published research in Economics Letters indicates that despite low wages, high unemployment, and other challenges, artists tend to be happier with their jobs than non-artists. The study used data provided through the 1999 and 2008 versions of the European Values Study, in which people from 49 European countries described their beliefs on a wide range of topics, including their jobs. On a scale of one to 10, where 10 equaled "totally happy," artists' scores averaged 7.7, while non-artists' scores averaged 7.3. Interestingly, artists in the UK weren't that much happier (5.49 vs. 5.45 for non-artists) while Swiss artists were quite a bit happier (8.23 vs. 8.08).
What's the Big Idea?
According to the study, artists "were significantly more likely to describe their job as interesting; to say it allowed them to learn new skills and use their own initiative; and to report they were largely free to make their own decisions." The flexibility that comes with being self-employed was also a factor, as well as the simple pleasure gained from making creative work. The researchers note that although funding artists is still very important, care should be taken to "[safeguard] their self-determination and autonomy."
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