About Klamer

World View

KlamerSmallerAs a cultural economist I view the economy as merely instrumental; we all strive to realize that what is important to us. That what is important is part of our culture; it constitutes the content of our lives and our society. In our days the instrumental perspective prevails. Firms strive for profits, and individuals for happiness.  The question is what profit and happiness are good for. Might there be other things that are more important? Content is especially important in the world of the arts, but also in the academic world and in religion. But I also distinguish the search for content, for purpose in the business world.  Politics is about content, too. Only when it gets translated into policy, its substance often makes way for the instrumental part. This shows in the predilection for quantification, for evidence that comes in numbers.  


ArjocraftSmallerConversation is my favorite metaphor. It helps me to make sense of what is going on in a field like economics, what causes so much miscommunication (the fact that people operate in different and incompatible conversations), and it also proves to be good metaphor to characterize what is going on in markets and in the arts.  When you say “art is a conversation” instead of “art is a product” you immediately get a different conversation that makes more sense, at least so I experience.

Foto: VIE, Peter van Beek.

Main Contributions

Klamer10SSSI try to make a contribution to the field of cultural economics with the value based approach that I am developing. New are the notions of shared goods, and the four sphere model. Of course, I hope that they will prove to be contributions but that the community of scholars will determine. I hope to make a major contribution with the Quality Impact monitor that I am developing with others. I make serious efforts to educate students and professionals in the worlds of art and culture. I am proud of the Master of Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship that I helped to develop and of the series of workshops on Cultural Economics and the values of culture that I am doing with Creare throughout the world (eg in Amsterdam, India, Uganda, Japan, Portugal, Venice, Brazil and Let land).  

Most important is the PhD program for which I am responsible. Already 18 people achieved their PhD and most of them have good careers in academia (5 of whom became full professor). Currently around 14 people from all over the world are working towards their PhD under my supervision. I also try to contribute to professional education in the liberal arts. I have tried to develop a unique University in Deventer, Academia Vitae, but the recessions forced me to cease the effort. I am now involved in setting up a sequel under the name of Academia of Liberal Arts. In this Academia we take the classics seriously.I also try to contribute to societal and political discussions by means of lectures, columns, debates and am now involved in local politics (to discover how complex and demanding the craft of politics is). 

And I want to take care of my family and be there for friends and students.



PresentatieMrGetting the first academic job at Wellesley College was important, of course.  Before that I got a kick out of being offered a scholarship at Duke University while I happened to be in the bathroom with the graduate director.  Getting my first book published- Conversations with Economists--, reading reviews in The New York Times, Business Week and Fortune, and hearing people talking about the book at conferences and even on the street in New York City, all that was certainly a highlight.  I was very proud at the opening of Academia Vitae, a university that I had conceived and for which I had worked very hard.  Having to close it down was one of the lowest points of my career. There were other disappointments, of course, but I really enjoy being able to converse with interested and interesting graduate students and with colleagues and friends such as Deirdre McCloskey. It is also a good thing to be part of societal and political discussions in the Netherlands.  Being the president elect of the association of cultural economics gives me the chance to promote the field in Asia and Latin America.