The Matthew effect in Dutch cultural policy
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The presence of a Matthew effect in the Dutch cultural sector has been suggested in recent years, following budget cuts and increased focus on market values in policy. Thus far, research on this topic has been scarce and inconclusive and no research has looked into the experiences of cultural institutions in the Netherlands following the budget cuts of 2012. This research aims to assess the experiences of cultural institutions and to determine whether or not a Matthew effect is present for income flows and location between 2013 and 2016 using a mixed methods design. Data from 474 cultural institutions across the Netherlands were analysed and interviews were conducted with directors representing 11 museums and pop music venues in the province of Utrecht. Gini coefficients showed no Matthew effect for income flows, and no significant trend differences could be found between institutions within or outside the Randstad metropolitan area, both attested by the results of the interviews. The large differences, although stable, between cultural institutions and their experiences within the Netherlands were very apparent. Small institutions struggle to innovate and grow. One-time investments can kickstart a positive spiral towards a more socially relevant an financially healthy position for these small institutions.