Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Derek Reid


Culture is undeniably a vital part of any society. To preserve and develop their culture, a majority of modern states allocate some part of their annual expenditure to the arts. The amount of money and system through which it is distributed varies from country to country, but the principle remains the same. Not only do countries value the contribution of culture to their common well-being, but it is also widely accepted that participation in the arts, as a performer or viewer, holds benefit for the individual. All of this considered, I sought to investigate whether or not the size of a country’s contribution to the arts correlated with its ranking on various global measures of success. To do so, I used the annual federal expenditure on the arts from ten Western nations. I then employed the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index and the Democracy Matrix Index as my dependent variables to measure a country’s economic prosperity and the health of its democracy. Although I was unable to find a statistically significant correlation between my two variables, I was able to conclude that there is a lack of information available to the public regarding a country’s federal arts spending and the system used to distribute it. If the arts are as important as so many argue, why do even the most developed nations vary so much in their arts budgets and why are these numbers not concrete and accessible?

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