D'Art 2: International Comparisons of Arts Participation Data

Co-hosted by Australian Bureau of Statistics,
01 November 2002, International

D'Art Report: International Comparisons of Arts Participation Data

D’Art Topics in Arts Policy, no.2, November 2002

IFACCA and the National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics

International data comparisons are fraught with difficulty. After looking at cultural statistics programs internationally, this report reviews seven cross-country comparisons of cultural participation data. It finds that despite advances in survey methodology and data availability, using comparisons to draw conclusions or to make policy and program recommendations is still ill-advised. Not only do data come from countries with often very different institutional and policy environments, they are also generated using different survey instruments. Although many authors highlight the differences, caveats are typically buried within the text, while data remain boldly tabulated side-by-side. Differences underlying the data are thus obscured, and too often conclusions are drawn from incomparable data.

See also Making Cross-country Comparisons: Problems and Solutions 2004 by IFACCA and the Australia Council.