An Institutional Theory of Co-production in the Arts: From Crowd Interaction to Fan Production

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Previous research has identified elements of co-production and co-creation in many different art forms at various stages of the production and consumption process, to the point where it seems that co-production is ubiquitous in the arts. Co-production, as defined by Ostrom, is the contribution of resources by individuals who are not part of the same organization. This definition has contributed to an expansive use of the concept, so we refine the definition to distinguish between co-production (of market goods) in which the benefits of co-production do or do not accrue directly to the co-producing party. We do this by reintegrating the theory of co-production into the theory of firm (and household) production. This refinement allows us to distinguish between (unproblematic) forms of co-production which are directly in the self-interest of consumers, and (potentially problematic) forms of co-production which generate significant externalities for other consumers. We apply this framework to analyze co-production at the interface between producers and consumers in the arts, in particular the performing arts and co-production in fan-cultures. We identify the institutional solutions which are developed at this interface to incentivize and ensure co-production in the presence of significant externalities. Although our analysis is restricted to market goods, our analysis has important implications for the co-production of publicly provided goods and the required additional institutions.



arts, coproduction, self-interest, motivation, crowding