Culture adds seven times more to the economy than motor cars

Culture adds seven times more to the economy than motor cars


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2014

The French Ministry of Culture has come up with a staggering stat.

Apparently, cultural activity adds 57.8 billion Euros to the economy, equivalent to 3.2 percent of national GDP.

That is seven times as much as Renault, Citroen and the rest of the automotive industry put together.

Think about that, Detroit, before you sell off the Institute of Arts.

detroit art


  • Tim Benjamin says:

    A dodgy statistic if ever I saw one, and a dodgy spin upon it by the French politician (quelle surprise)

    We aren’t (in the article) told the size of the French motor industry’s contribution to PIB but as €57.8bn is 7x larger, we can assume it’s around €8.3bn.

    And then we come to this line in the article:

    “L’intervention de l’Etat compte pour 13,9 milliards sur les 57,8 milliards”

    So the taxpayer’s contribution to this magnificent pile of cash “generated” by the culture “industry” is itself nearly twice the size of the contribution of all French car manufacturers put together.

    Trebles pour tous!

    • Anon says:

      Tim – indeed. At a glance, the report seems to include anything vaguely related to culture to come up with this astonishing figure – trade and industry in anything cultural. And yet omits trade and so on in the motor business, which is worth, if I recall, something north of €200bn. The comparison is at the very least a biased one, then.

      Mind, “Ministry of X commissions report saying how important X is” isn’t much of a surprise, and no doubt the real conclusion we are supposed to reach is that “therefore ministers in charge of X should be congratulated, and given larger budgets and departments to spend on X”

  • figarosi says:

    If you read the article, it indicates that a separate study by Ernst & Young arrived at an even larger figure: 61.4 billion. Also, “culture” in this report is a wide category including museums, architecture, press, publicity, libraries, radio, TV and film production, etc. The French government also invests substantially in the automobile industry. No data is available but I suspect that the “rewards” are nothing like what we see here.

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    Maybe they refer specially to the French car industry, which is not performing that well..

  • Any figure massage resulting in the arts getting a thumbs up gets my vote.

  • Kenneth Wood says:

    So far as I know, there are no plans to sell off the D.I.A. In fact, three different southeastern Michigan counties voted in favor of a millage which is expected to raise $250 million over 10 years to help support the museum’s operations and acquisitions. Been there many times and the fresco panel from Rivera’s “Industry” you used is really something to be seen (in it’s entirety).