Creative Economy Employment in the US and UK

Max Nathan, Thomas Kemeny, Andy Pratt

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The idea of the ‘creative industries’ has captured the attention of city-focused policymakers, managers, and academics. Creativity might influence economic development by drawing other workers with high levels of human capital, and by stimulating new ideas and the economic rents that derive from them. Yet creative economies remain hard to measure, and especially hard to compare from one country setting to another. This paper develops new routines to compare economies’ creative employment, and applies them to the US and UK, using high-quality administrative microdata spanning 2011 to 2013. This process reveals two distinctive creative economies. The UK’s is bigger in terms of share of the workforce, and has grown more rapidly over the study period. More interestingly, the intensity of creative occupations within creative industries is considerably higher in the UK than in the US, whereas in the latter, creative workers are distributed much more widely across a wider range of industry types. These findings highlight possibilities for widely varying national configurations of creative economies, and point to the need for further comparative study.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages62
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

A version of this paper will be submitted to Regional Studies.


  • creative industries
  • labour markets
  • occpations
  • cross-country analysis


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