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Why It's Good To Be An Artist (In Europe, At Least)

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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Read it at Pacific Standard

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