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Creative Economy: A Worldwide Research in Business, Management and Accounting

Department of Marketing, University of Valencia, 36310 Valencia, Spain
Facultad de Ciencias Administrativas, Universidad Estatal Península de Santa Elena (UPSE), La Libertad 240204, Ecuador
Department of Economy and Business, University of Almería, 04120 Almeria, Spain
Centro de Centro de Investigación y Proyectos Aplicados a las Ciencias de la Tierra (CIPAT), ESPOL Polytechnic University, Guayaquil 9015863, Ecuador
Research Group Innovation, Management, Marketing and Knowledge Economy Research (I2MAKER), Campus Gustavo Galindo, ESPOL Polytechnic University, Guayaquil 9015863, Ecuador
Facultad de Posgrado, Universidad Tecnológica Empresarial de Guayaquil, Guayaquil 090616, Ecuador
Faculty of Social and Humanistic Sciences, ESPOL Polytechnic University, Guayaquil 9015863, Ecuador
Doctoral School, Faculty of Law and Economic and Business Sciences, University of Córdoba, 14002 Cordoba, Spain
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 16010;
Received: 17 October 2022 / Revised: 21 November 2022 / Accepted: 24 November 2022 / Published: 30 November 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Economy for Sustainable Development)


Due to its adaptability in being relevant to the economies of different countries, industries, and research fields, the creative economy (CE), a driving force behind the national economy for sustainable development, has recently garnered the attention of the academic community. This research examines the intellectual structure of this field using the Scopus database in the subject area of business, management and accounting. This study uses bibliometric analysis, a cutting-edge and rigorous technique for the exploration of scientific data. The employed methodology entails an organized and open procedure broken down into four phases: (1) search criteria; (2) selection of database and documents; (3) selection of software and data pre-processing; and (4) analysis of results. We use two approaches to learn about their structure by evaluating performance and observing their various connections through bibliometric mapping. The findings indicate that the creative economy is a burgeoning area of research, with 687 articles, 1340 authors, and 64 nations represented. In addition, the creative economy, the cultural industry, human capital, management, entrepreneurship, and business models are research topics. This study has several implications because it offers an up-to-date and comprehensive overview of the trends in this topic, making it a helpful tool for researchers. It also identifies gaps in the literature that lead to possible lines of investigation in future studies.

1. Introduction

In the last three decades, the term “creative economy” (CE) has received increasing interest around the world [1] as it is a way of adapting to the rapid changes that economies and society have undergone [1,2]. Furthermore, CE has a significant role to play in the growth and sustenance of national economies while respecting sustainable development [3,4,5] by promoting the coordinated learning of creativity, knowledge and technology [1]. Consequently, CE has become a relevant issue for countries and their economies [6], considering its application in developed [7,8,9,10] and developing countries [11,12,13], despite the lack of governmental support and public policies allowing adequate development [5].
The CE is a paradigm of economic development and innovation, presenting an essential role in the industry [14,15]; a role in which value creation lies in creative ideas transformed into products or services [16]. These creative industries are crucial for growth, employment and international trade [17,18]. They include a wide range of actions, such as the conception, manufacture and delivery of intellectual or artistic goods and services that can be intangible and tangible [19]. These sectors comprise diverse economic activities ranging from the arts (painting, music, performing arts) and audiovisual (cinema, television, video games) to advertising, photography, architecture, designer fashion, R&D, software and electronic publishing [1,3,20,21]. Thus, the creative economy facilitates employability and qualification, strengthening professional careers in the arts, culture, and sciences and promoting social inclusion.
For these reasons, the creative economy is versatile in generating changes in society related to economic and social life, attracting the attention of the academic and business world [16,22]. Moreover, this versatility has allowed the development of a wealth of academic literature with theoretical, empirical and practical application bases with diverse approaches [14].
The term is not a new concept, as one might think. In the mid-1990s, considering the importance of arts and culture, the UK government, through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), used the term “creative industries” [23] to describe sectors of the economy with the potential to generate income and new jobs through the development and exploitation of intellectual property [15,24]. Afterwards, the term creative economy appeared in a publication by John Howkins [25], highlighting creativity as an engine of economic growth [12]. Then, in 2005, this term started being disseminated in documents of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the British Council [26,27]. Subsequently, in 2008, according to the UNCTAD report, the ability to create and circulate intellectual capital, which has the potential to generate money, jobs, and export earnings while promoting social inclusion, cultural variety, and human development, was considered the expression of a growing creative economy [28].
UNCTAD defines the creative economy as an emerging idea based on the relationship between creativity and human thoughts and intellectual property, knowledge, and technology. It also argues that the creative industries rely on knowledge-based economic activity [29]. However, some need clarification on this concept with reference to ‘creative class’, ‘creative industry’, and ‘artists’ [11]. As we will see in the literature review, these concepts are different but related. Therefore, the creative economy has become a very relevant topic; one which has led to the development of new concepts such as the creative class, creative industry, creative culture, creative cities, and creative tourism [7].
Bibliometric studies enable exploration by analyzing a field of knowledge or an academic discipline’s cognitive structure through the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of scientific production [30,31]. Academics and professionals can now access a broader understanding of the state-of-the-art disciplines and topics within an area of study thanks to bibliometrics [32,33]. Some bibliometric analyses have partially addressed the structure of the specialized area of the creative economy. For example, studies in the subject area of the social science have been considered [7], as have those in the area of arts and humanities [34] and urban studies [35]. However, as far as is known, the creative economy has yet to be addressed in the business, management and accounting subject areas.
This study aims to assess the cognitive structure of creative economics through bibliometric analysis to determine performance, development and central themes. This research uses the Scopus database (Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and the application of a bibliometric software, VOSviewer (developed by the University of Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands). In addition, this research seeks to address this literature gap, providing a better understanding of the state of the art and its development.
With 687 papers, 1340 authors, and 64 nations represented, the findings show that the creative economy is a rapidly expanding field of study. Also included among the research themes are the creative economy, the cultural industry, human capital, management, entrepreneurship, and business models. This study is a valuable resource for academics because it provides an up-to-date and in-depth overview of the developments in this sector. In addition, this research has significant educational implications because it identifies research areas that have previously received too much attention from scholars and offers fresh perspectives on current gaps where future research efforts should concentrate.
This research comprises six main sections: the introduction (Section 1), where the authors discuss the importance of the creative economy and the aim of the study; a brief literature review (Section 2) on the creative economy and its main lines of research; the materials and methods (Section 3), where the systematic process of collecting information from the database and its cleaning, as well as the software used, is explained; the main results obtained (Section 4), the themes and lines of research that conform intellectual structure; the discussion of the findings and limitations of this study (Section 5); and, finally, we include the conclusions (Section 6).

2. Literature Review

The creative economy has gained interest thanks to a rich theoretical base and the various disciplines that have led it to be considered an existing paradigm [7,14]. This study aims to learn about the main works on the creative economy. In addition, the authors conceptualize complementary concepts to the creative economy, such as creative industry, creative cities, and cultural industries to understand it better. Works by Lazzeretti et al. [7] and Sanches Santana et al. [26] have used this conceptual review methodology.

2.1. Creative Economy

The creative economy supports the so-called cultural and creative industries, which are significant economic development drivers [36]. In 1998 in New England, scholars and organized groups established an initial method to describe the creative economy notion. This notion includes a creative cluster, a creative workforce, and a creative community [37]. In other words, it is an ecosystem that allows the combination of a series of professions linked to creativity [21], such as scientists, engineers, teachers, business owners, and artists [38,39].
The creative economy has developed remarkably in urban areas due to its inhabitants’ access to culture, intellectual capital and talent [40]; this allows the generation of an ideal environment for innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship to cope with changing markets and, thus, the economic progress of the community [41].
This type of economy comprises a group of interacting industries, such as creative, cultural, and creative cities in which innovation and experimentation are promoted [14,42]. In addition, these industries involve various academic disciplines such as management, regional development, economic geography, regional science and sustainable development [5,14].
Scholars have studied the creative economy from various approaches, such as social networks [43], resilience [2,3], intermediaries [9], life satisfaction [21], circular governance [44] and business models [45,46]. Additionally, the role of the higher education sector is essential when considering specialized education and the effects of research on arts, culture, creativity, and entrepreneurship [47].

2.2. Creative Industry

Before winning the 1997 election, the British Labour Party prepared arts policy documents and referred to the spectrum of endeavors with which it was primarily interested as “cultural industries” [48]. However, after winning that election, the organizing word was changed to “creative industries” in government policy documents [24]. Garnham (2005) argues that the shift in terminology in arts and media policy discourse and associated academic research and analysis from “cultural industries” to “creative industries” is not just a change of labels but involves theoretical and political interests [49]. As a result, what the public initially regarded as “the arts” gained some legitimacy due to production, export, and employment measures [50].
During the 1990s, the United Kingdom mapped the sectors in which the creative industries were developing to measure their contribution to the country’s economic development [51]. In the last years, it has been a complex task to determine the sectors in which the creative industry operates due to its wide range of sectors ranging from art, heritage, culture and technology [52]. For Banks and O’Connor [53], nations’ politics, geography, and history define the creative industry concept. In contrast, Garnham points out that understanding the term creative industry lies in placing it within the broad context of information society policy [49]. However, Potts and colleagues argue that the creative industry does not proceed from individual decisions to produce or consume something but arises from determinations made in social network choices [43].
The creative industry is considered an essential driver of economic development and growth and impacts a society’s social and cultural life due to its vast diversity of activities [54,55]. Moreover, this industry has a dynamism that withstands economic fluctuations and favors the creation of talent and employment [3]. Other authors consider that creative industries establish new business and commercial practices, stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship and using creative skills to make profits [56,57].
The concentration of this industry may occur in cities, which could lead to regional development and income disparities [22]. However, the creative sector has a disorganized organizational structure that has prevented the development of global and regional strategies, so creating common defining frameworks is needed [58].
These creative industries are related to the fashion industry [59], the film industry [60,61], art galleries and museums [62,63,64], and gaming [65,66,67], among others. In recent years, scholars have linked the creative industry to the circular economy [44], sustainable tourism [68], digital transformation [57], e-commerce [69], strategic management [70], human resources [71], innovation [72], social capital [73], the revitalization of industry [74] and innovative business models [57,75].

2.3. Cultural Industry

Scholars can understand the term “cultural industry” from two perspectives. The first refers to the limits (breadth) of the concept of “culture”, and the second is the production of culture (depth) [76]. The early research was carried out in the television, record and magazine industries [77]. Nowadays, thanks to technological advances, several research works involve the cultural sector and technology, which has given a new impulse to the economy of many countries [78,79] through new income models and the production, diffusion and consumption of cultural products and services [80]. Therefore, these industries produce experiential goods and services using creative elements with the potential to generate wealth and employment for a mass consumer market [65].
Greg Richards has undertaken an extensive literature review and identifies specific trends in the industry, such as a shift from tangible to intangible heritage, an increased focus on indigenous and other minority groups, and a geographic expansion in the coverage of cultural tourism research [81].
Other authors consider the effects on the cultural industry of festivals [82,83], ethnic minorities [84], trademark registrations [85], innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem [86,87], venture creation [88], digitalization [89], communications [80], local and regional development [36] and creative cities [40,50], and social networks [90].

2.4. Creative Cities

Cities and regions can become more vibrant and desirable places to live by combining creative and knowledge-intensive economies. Cities will draw in more brilliant and creative people if educational institutions and local and regional governments work together to build and maintain their creative potential [12,91]. The creative city’s growth will determine the future economy’s strength. The goal of a creative city is to inspire us to view our city as a dynamic work of art where residents may actively participate in the transformation of their surroundings. Every city has the potential to be more creative than it now is [35,92].
However, application of the creative economy concept differs between developed and developing countries. In the former, policymakers use this concept to improve neglected neighborhoods, while in the latter, they prioritize competitive advantage [11] or strengthen local economies [93,94]. Ultimately, the idea of the creative city must respond to a complex network of relationships in the urban context of producing goods and services, work and social life [95].

3. Materials and Methods

One of the most popular techniques when studying a research topic is the systematic literature review, which provides a strict, formal, and open approach that enables knowledge to be systematically evaluated [96,97]. Similar to this, bibliometric studies give a methodology that shows a complete and open procedure that aids in the making sense of massive amounts of information by analyzing and outlining an existing body of knowledge [30,31]. Furthermore, due to the constraints of systematic literature reviews’ data handling, these bibliometric studies enable us to gather extensive information about the intellectual structure of the research subject [98].
Bibliometrics is a helpful method for the evaluation of academic disciplines’ effectiveness, development, and trends [99]. Additionally, it lists the broad study themes and most popular topics [100]. Furthermore, numerous studies have used this analysis in various academic disciplines, such as management [101,102,103] and environment [104,105,106], among others [107,108]. For these reasons, this study uses bibliometric tools to analyze the scientific structure of the creative economy field.
This research sets out the methodology used in five phases: (i) search criteria, (ii) selection of database and documents, (iii) software and data pre-processing, and (iv) analysis of results.

3.1. Search Criteria

The search criteria used to respond to the terms creative economy, knowledge-driven industries, cultural industries, creative industries, creative product, creative service and creative economy. Due to their widespread usage in this field of study, these concepts provide the intellectual framework of the creative economy [7,15,37]. Therefore, the criteria allowed for the construction of the database to evaluate this area of study.

3.2. Selection of Database and Documents

The selected database is Scopus, owned by Elsevier. This was selected for the following reasons: (i) its broader coverage of scientific publications in various areas of knowledge than the Web of Science [109,110]; (ii) it has records of scientific publications since 1788, showing a comprehensive coverage over time concerning other databases [111]; (iii) its quality indicators (e.g., Citescore and Scimago Journal Rank) [112]; (iv) its easy access of bibliographic information [113]; and (v) other bibliometric studies that use it as a source of information [114,115,116].
The data were extracted from Scopus in December 2021, using the descriptors mentioned above to capture the information contained in the titles, abstracts and keywords. Additionally, the query uses the Boolean operator OR. This combination yielded the following thematic search TS = (TITLE-ABS-KEY (“knowledge-driven industr*”) OR TITLE-ABS-KEY (“cultural industr*”) OR TITLE-ABS-KEY (“creative industr*”) OR TITLE-ABS-KEY (“creative product*”) OR TITLE-ABS-KEY (“creative service*”) OR TITLE-ABS-KEY (“creative econom*”)). The search yielded 8429 documents.
The documents obtained were subjected to inclusion and exclusion criteria for the processing and filtering of the information. First, the year 2022 is excluded due to incomplete records, as it is the current year. This exclusion is a common practice in bibliometric studies [115,117]. Next, the subject area of business, management and accounting were selected, obtaining 1319 documents. In addition, the authors set articles and reviews as certified knowledge because they were submitted by blind peers [118]. This database includes only papers in English, as this is the typical language of scientific communication [119]. Once the authors completed the document selection process, the authors performed a manual and independent analysis of these documents to have an additional inclusion criterion. This process allows for greater precision and quality in choosing the base documents [120,121]. This selection relies on the definition of creative economy proposed by UNCTAD [28] as “an evolving concept based on creative assets potentially generating economic growth and development”. This concept encompasses economic aspects, cultural diversity and human development. Documents not directly related to the definition of creative economy were excluded from the database, resulting in a final base of 687 papers.

3.3. Selection of Software and Data Pre-Processing

The information extracted from the Scopus database is in comma-separated values (CSV) format, which allows the obtainment of the relevant data from the selected documents related to the title, authors, involved affiliations, title and abstract of the paper, among others. Furthermore, this information allows bibliometric analyses through the use of two software packages:
Microsoft Excel: A program used for data processing and analysis. The first ensures the quality of the data by reviewing the information, and cleaning and eliminating errors [122,123]. Meanwhile, the second allows the study of scientific production performance by examining documents, authors, and countries [124].
VOSviewer: Developed by the University of Leiden (The Netherlands). This is an open-access software that allows the construction of bibliometric networks to reveal the cognitive structure of a field of study [125,126]. From its innermost zone (co-occurrence of keywords), middle zone (co-citation of reference authors) and outer zone (co-citation of reference journals) [127,128]. Some academic publications have considered using this software [129,130,131,132,133,134].

3.4. Analysis of Results

Bibliometric studies comprise two approaches: performance analysis and bibliometric mapping [135,136]. The first allows the evaluation and impact of scientific publications and their various actors (authors, countries and affiliations). Meanwhile, the second corresponds to scientific cartography or bibliometric mapping. Section 3 below discusses these two approaches.

4. Results

4.1. Performance Analysis

4.1.1. Scientific Production Analysis

Figure 1 shows the evolution of scientific articles on the creative economy. We can observe that 687 research papers published between 1985 and 2021, with 12,216 citations, make up this structure. The initial studies on the subject are scarce, but as time goes by, there is evidence of a growing interest on the part of academia, with 41% of scientific production occurring in the last four years. For this research, the field of study was divided chronologically into three periods: Period I (1985–1999), period II (2000–2010), and period III (2011–2021).
There are five articles in the first period (1985–1999). The first considers how certain principles can enhance creativity so that individuals can develop innovative products or services reflected in a firm’s productivity [137]. In 1990, Sadri and Lukose presented a study based on a predictive model of managerial behavior based on industrial relations and business policy [138]. In 1996, research on productive creativity was published, exploring possible relationships of gender and racial composition (Hispanic, Afro-descendant and Asian) among professionals and determining the productivity of these groups [139]. Finally, in this period, a study stands out in which the authors present a formal definition of cultural industries following four characteristics of cultural goods, in addition to identifying the organizational forms of project-based enterprises and network forms of governance as the most appropriate according to the dynamics of cultural markets [140], this work had, at time of writing, 52 citations.
The second period (2000–2010) comprises 135 articles (19.7%). The study on the macrocultural understanding of the nature of whales concerning the development of the commercial whale-watching industry stands out with 247 citations [141]. DeFillippi, Grabher and Jones (2007), with 190 citations, discuss the paradoxical practices resulting from the management and organization of creativity in the cultural economy [142]. Moreover, in 2000, Starkey, Barnatt and Tempest obtained 185 citations exploring the shift from hierarchy to network in the United Kingdom television industry [143]. In this period, the main themes related to business management were in the creative economy approach. The strategies method measures the success or failure of innovative enterprises [70,144,145]. Other themes include management of the relationships between enterprises and clients who consume creative products or services [146,147,148] and examination of the different business models of managing creative processes and personnel [149,150,151,152]. Other studies consider innovation and creativity in a technological environment, such as products and processes in virtual environments [150], in the video game industry [66,153], or the software industry [148,154].
The third period (2011–2021) comprises 547 articles (79.6%). Research relates the creative economy to new industry trends in this time interval, such as tourism [155,156] and digital transformation [157,158]. In the case of tourism, the term ‘creative tourism’ appears, which encompasses products co-created between the host and the tourist [159]. This research explores cultural motivations and consumption [81], experience, perceived value, and revisit intention [160]. Digital transformation in creative economy enterprises facilitates the emergence of innovative business models and new trends [57] and entrepreneurship by young people who have developed technical skills and creativity [161].

4.1.2. Contribution by Countries

This analysis provides insight into the countries involved in knowledge generation [162]. Table 1 shows the ten countries with the highest number of publications and citations out of 64. The nations leading in creative economy issues are the United Kingdom, with 140 publications and 4148 citations, Indonesia (85 articles and 309 citations), and the United States (70 papers and 1707 citations).
Figure 2 shows that European countries (31) are at the forefront of research on the creative economy, followed by Asia (19) and the Americas, with eight countries. Concerning the number of citations obtained by the publications, the top five countries in Table 1 are the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.
The United Kingdom is a leader in publications, citations and collaborations with 25 countries, mainly the United States, in seven articles. These studies focus primarily on the exploration of cultural and creative enterprises on topics such as external knowledge collaboration [163], sustainability [164] and human capital in this industry [165]. Furthermore, this research has covered various economic sectors, such as software [148], higher education institutions [166] and entertainment [167,168]. Subsequently, the United Kingdom has produced five articles with France, covering topics such as sustainable practices [164], knowledge sharing [169], entrepreneurial motivations [170], organizational stigma [171], and aesthetic style [172] in a creative industries context.
Indonesia, which ranks second (Table 1), has collaborated with nine countries, mainly Malaysia and Norway, on two publications. In Malaysia, publications have focused on innovation management [173] and business competitiveness in creative industries [174]. Meanwhile, collaborations with Norway focused on artistic orientation, entrepreneurial performance [175] and creative industries regarding commercial and cultural attributes [176].

4.1.3. Journal Performance

This analysis allows us to observe the various fields that interact in the field of study in terms of the journals that published research (267) that contributed to shaping the intellectual structure of the creative economy. Table 2 shows the top 10 journals that contribute significantly to the number of publications on the subject, with 198 out of 687 articles. Additionally, in Table 2, performance and journal quality indicators related to the number of papers (TP), the quartile of the journal, the contribution percentage (%), the H-Index (HI), SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) and finally, CiteScore (CS) were considered.
In Table 2, we show the top journals publishing articles related to the industry (journals 1, 2), innovation (4, 8), business (9, 10) and arts (5, 6). The highest Citescore is shown by the Journal of Business Research (9.2), while that with the highest contribution in publications is the Creative Industries Journal. This journal presents some papers that relate the creative industry to technology [177], economic development [178,179] and the changes the industry has undergone [180].

4.1.4. Authors’ Contribution

This analysis allows us to obtain information on those authors who have generated knowledge in the field of study [181]. A total of 1340 authors have contributed to the construction of the intellectual structure of the creative economy. Table 3 shows those authors with the highest number of contributions whose affiliations are from Europe, Asia and Oceania. In this table, Minghuei Chen (National Chung Hsing University) and Jūratė Černevičiūtė (Vilniaus Geimino Technikos Universitetas) have the highest number of publications. The first author highlights his studies related to creative entrepreneurship and guanxi networks [182,183], creativity cognitive style [184,185] and the roles of entrepreneurial motivation, creativity and opportunity [186]. The second author studies cultural and creative industries with sustainable and regional development as his most cited works [187,188].
Greg Richards (Breda University of Applied Sciences) is the most influential author, who exhibits 709 citations across four publications and ranks tenth in Table 3. He presents the most cited publication in this field of study, investigating the relationships and implications between tourism and creativity [159]. Other studies address research trends in cultural tourism research [81] and creative tourism in cities [189,190]. Other authors appear listed in Table 3.

4.1.5. Frequently Cited Documents

Published works in a field of study are evaluated based on the number of citations obtained. Table 4 shows the articles with the most citations on the studied topic, representing 16.7%. These articles present the creative economy and its various applications in tourism [81,159], the development of cultural industries [143,191] and the video games industry [66], as well as the management of creativity in the cultural economy and its paradoxes [6,142] and changes in business and cultural management practices [192,193].
The most cited article is by Greg Richards (2011) [159], published in the journal Annals of Tourism Research. This work is a literature review that establishes the relationship between creativity and tourism, allowing for a transformation from traditional cultural tourism to tourism that offers more flexible experiences where both the hosts and the tourist are co-creators, i.e., creative tourism [159]. The second most cited publication is by researchers T.B. Lawrence and N. Phillips, who studied the whale-watching industry to change old paradigms related to whale hunting [141].

4.2. Science Mapping

4.2.1. Authors’ Keyword Co-Occurrence Analysis

This analysis allows researchers to discover patterns that reveal a semantic map that visualizes the intellectual structure, development and relevant themes of the field of study [127,194]. Figure 3 shows the two-dimensional network of co-occurrences of author keywords constructed with the VOSviewer software. The grid shows 67 nodes (relevant topics) and nine clusters (research topics, represented by grouping nodes of the same color). This structure explores the existing relationships of those keywords with at least five frequencies of occurrence in this structure of 1817 existing keywords.
Cluster 1 (red color), called “Creative Economy and Cultural Industry”, has 13 elements with 183 occurrences. In this cluster, the research is related to economic and cultural development. Its focus lies on tourist behavior [195], policies in the big data industry [195], art festivals as temporary knowledge networks [83], and the role of the creative class in policy formation [196]. Other studies consider the cultural industry [196] in aspects such as production [197], development [88], innovation [198], social networks [90,199], and entrepreneurial ecosystem [87], among others.
Cluster 2 (green color), called “Creative Industry”, is located in the center of Figure 3 and has 12 elements and 448 occurrences. The words with the highest number of repetitions are “creative industry” (280), “creativity” (64) and “innovation” (50) occurrences. In this group, the most prominent papers relate to technology and how it facilitates the implementation of innovative business models [57,75]. Other work has found that sectors that produce novel products are at the heart of the creative industry [200]. When coupled with policies that foster and sustain creativity, an innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem is created [86]. These studies examined industries related to the film industry [60,61], video games [65,66,67], social media [72,201], music [202], museums and art galleries [62,63,64], and fashion [59,203]. Recently, some research has considered the impact of COVID-19 on the creative industry and its reaction to this disruption [69,71,204].
Cluster 3 (blue color), called “Creative City, Class & Tourism”, has nine elements and 82 occurrences. The research contained in this cluster relates to the role of creativity in the economic development of cities [205] such as Dublin [196], Montreal [206], Penang [207] and Bandung [208]. Other studies focus on ‘creative tourism’ by investigating experiential perception and environment [209], the design of various strategies for creative place-making [190], the nature of creative tourism and its roles [210], as well as the differences between rural and urban institutions in innovative tourism management [211]. Other authors considered the part of the creative class in strengthening local economies [93,94] through innovation [212] and shaping public policy [196].
Cluster 4 (yellow color), called “Cultural & Creative Industry in SMEs”, has eight elements and 107 occurrences. The words that stand out are “cultural and creative industry” with 34 and “small and medium enterprise” with 24 occurrences. This cluster studies how cultural and creative industries meet the needs of consumers [187]. It also studies the establishment of collaborative models in these industries and the heterogeneous sources of knowledge [55] that help transform a creative idea into an innovative product [213]. In this sense, the creative and cultural sectors are congruent with the theory of sustainable development [214,215]; therefore, various researchers have studied sustainable practices in these industries [164] and their benefits [216,217]. Other research considers small and medium-sized enterprises in terms of their challenges in engaging with the creative industry [218,219,220]. Therefore, some studies consider strategies [221,222], such as knowledge sharing [169], network participation [147] and innovation [173,223,224].
Cluster 5 (purple color), called “Entrepreneurship & Human Capital”, has eight elements and 82 occurrences. The keywords “entrepreneurship” and “human capital” stand out in this cluster with 36 and 9 occurrences. The primary papers in the area of entrepreneurship are focused on creative practices in the new entrepreneurial agenda [225], the effect of small firms in the creative industry on regional employment growth [226], and the role of entrepreneurial identity [227]. Meanwhile, the prominent publications in human capital focus on the relationship between sectoral changes in individual competencies in a dynamic sector [228], the nexus between intellectual capital and organizational commitment [229], and the role of digital and artistic human capital in the creative economy [165].
Cluster 6 (sky-blue color), called “Identity, Art & Gender”, has six elements and 46 occurrences. The publications in this cluster explore identity in different approaches, such as identity work [230,231,232], entrepreneurial identity [227], professional identity [233], and corporate identity [234]. Additionally, research is considered that relates to some aspects of the artistic world, such as artistic identity [235,236], career decision-making [237], and entrepreneurship [238]. Finally, other publications focus on gender issues, such as gender bias [239] and women leaders in creative businesses [240,241].
Cluster 7 (orange color), called “Cultural Policy & Business Model”, has five elements and 51 occurrences. The words with the highest occurrences in this group are “cultural policy” and “business model”, with 20 and 9 occurrences, respectively. In recent years, the published works show the actions taken by countries and regions in the world through the establishment of cultural policies for the promotion of the creative eco-economy for urban and rural areas in countries such as South Africa [242,243], Turkey [244], Jamaica [245], United Kingdom, Australia [246], and Nigeria [247]. Furthermore, a group of publications focus their study on business models in various topics. These topics are the new models of the creative economy [45,65,248], the types of models [249], as well as the innovation process within the model’s construction [46,57,250].
Cluster 8 (brown color), called “Cultural Economy”, has three elements and 21 occurrences. This cluster’s keywords are “cultural economy” with nine, “economic development” with seven, and “innovation policy” with five occurrences. Publications in the cultural economy focus on the creation of cultural products and activities to boost the creative city [22] and its role in economic downturns [251]. Other research considers how the creative assets of cities can strengthen the economy [252,253] and establish policies to foster culture and innovation [254,255].
Cluster 9 (pink color), called “Management” has three elements and 23 occurrences. In this last cluster, the keywords are “social capital” (10), “knowledge management” (8), and “project management” with five occurrences. The studies belonging to this cluster investigate management in various approaches, such as social capital [151], employment relationships [256], knowledge management [73,257], and project management [258,259].

4.2.2. Authors Co-Citation Analysis (ACA)

This analysis identifies the authors that make up the knowledge base (references) of the intellectual structure studied using co-citation analysis [260]. This technique is predicated on the justification that if two authors are referenced together (co-cited), they most likely have a similar area of study [261]. Figure 4 shows this analysis using a two-dimensional network constructed by the VOSviewer software, which uses a similarity visualization mapping technique [126]. In this figure, nodes representing reference authors are visualized and are grouped in clusters of the same color, representing topics, specialties or schools of thought. In Figure 4, the homogeneous structure contains five clusters and 265 nodes (authors), which obtained at least 20 co-citations out of 28,161 authors.
Cluster 1 (red color), called “Artistic and Creative Expressions”, has 89 authors and its prominent exponents are Richard Caves (151 citations) and Candace Jones (140 citations). The former explores contract theory as an economic tool, an essential part of the structure of the creative industry, its production technology, and its function in art and commerce [262,263]. The second author, Jones, and other researchers present some studies on creative artists in an organizational context [142,264,265].
Cluster 2 (green color) is called “Creativity in Human Capital” with 46 authors. In this group is Teresa Amabile (156 co-citations), who presented research linking creativity and innovation in organizations [266], setting out a model linking the two [267,268]. Doris Ruth Eikhof (85 citations) explores human resource management in the creative industries [269], especially artists’ lifestyles [149,193] and social inequalities [270,271]. Finally, John Howkins (95 citations) considers that the creative economy is about fundamental human aspects where the management of de-nominated creative people will be essential to business success [25].
Cluster 3 (blue color), called “Creative Clusters in Cities”, has 45 authors. Among the leading exponents is Richard Florida (370 citations), who proposes the unification of Michael Porter’s theory of industrial clusters (102 citations) under the occupational focus of creative workers to understand the process of economic development [272]. The city’s role as an innovation engine was also studied, and an argument was made that innovation, entrepreneurship and geography can benefit three spheres: the firm, industrial clusters and the individual [273]. Another author who stands out in this cluster is Luciana Lazzeretti (72 citations), who, together with Philip Cooke (67 citations), presents her book on local economic development and cultural districts through the applied knowledge of the creative industry [274].
Cluster 4 (yellow color), called “Cultural Industry” has 44 authors and its prominent exponents include Andy Pratt (228 citations), who analyses the dynamism of culture as a form of resilience to become austere [22], as well as cultural industries and cultural policies [275]. In addition, one can find Allen Scott (216 citations), who works on the way globalization fosters the growth of city regions [95,276], as well as the cultural industry and cultural economy [277,278]. Finally, Greg Richards (150 citations) explores creativity in the cultural industry, oriented explicitly towards tourism [81,279].
Cluster 5 (purple color), called “Creative Industry” has 41 authors, where Stuart Cunningham (263 citations) stands out in his, and others, discussion regarding digital media and its contribution to value creation [280], as well as the importance of the creative sector [6]. David Hesmondhalgh (167 citations), for his part, exhibits studies related to the experiences and working conditions of the creative industry [77] as well as a critique of the insecurity, inequality and exploitation of creative workers [281].

4.2.3. Journal Co-Citation Network

Co-citation analysis is the process that shows how often two documents are linked together in new research [281,282,283]. Such relationships are essential in revealing the various structures within different fields of study [284]. For this analysis, the VOSviewer software version 1.6.17 tools allowed the determination of 14 743 journals, where 155 journals had at least 20 co-citations, resulting in the five clusters analyzed below (Figure 5). The network formation considered at least 20 co-citations [285].
Cluster 1 (red color), called “Social Sciences”, considers 37 journals with 3070 citations. This group includes journals in social sciences related to cultural studies and geography, planning and development. The leading journals are the International Journal of Cultural Policy (the United Kingdom, 349 citations), Urban Studies (the United Kingdom, 241), Regional Studies (the United Kingdom, 223), Journal of Economic Geography (the United Kingdom, 152), and Environment and Planning A (the United Kingdom, 141).
Cluster 2 (green color), “Management of Technology, Innovation & IT”, has 34 nodes and 2730 citations. As shown in Figure 5, this cluster has two groups. The journals that belong to the group located at the top of the figure publish studies in the area of business and management, specifically through the dissemination of co-knowledge of organizational information systems (IT). In this group are the journals: MIS Quarterly (the United States, 80 citations), Information and Management (the Netherlands, 62), Journal of Management Information Systems (the United States, 48) and Information Systems Research (the United States, 43). On the other hand, the journals belonging to the lower group publish studies in the area of business and management, emphasizing technological innovation. This group includes journals such as Research Policy (the Netherlands, 345 citations), Technovation (the United Kingdom, 121), and Technological Forecasting and Social Change (the United States, 99).
Cluster 3 (blue color), “Business Management”, has 31 nodes and 2826 citations, located in the left center of Figure 5. The journals that make up the cluster correspond to business management, broadening knowledge about the theory and practice of management in organizations. The journals mentioned are the Academy of Management Journal (the United States, Q1, 399 citations), Academy of Management Review (the United States, Q1, 406 citations), Journal of Business Venturing (the United States, Q1, 184 citations), and Journal of Management (the United States, Q1, 138 citations).
Cluster 4 (yellow color), “Sociological Studies”, has 30 nodes and 2741 citations. The journals belonging to this cluster belong to the areas of sociology, theoretical development and methodological innovations. These journals correspond to the American Journal of Sociology (the United States, 212 citations), Journal of Organizational Behavior (the United Kingdom, 163 citations), American Sociological Review (the United States, 103), and Work, Employment and Society (the United Kingdom, 100 citations).
Cluster 5 (purple color), “Marketing & Economic Research”, has 23 nodes and 1128 citations. This cluster, as its name suggests, contains marketing and economics journals. The journals that stand out are the Journal of Cultural Economics (the United States, 148 citations), the Journal of Marketing (the United States, 110), the Journal of Consumer Research (the United Kingdom, 84), American Economic Review (the United States, 79), and Journal of Marketing Research (the United States, 76).

5. Discussion

The study of the creative economy in business, management and accounting began more than 35 years ago. The CE topic is a driver of economic development, innovation and employment generation at the local or national level [1,14]. As a result, it has grown through the participation of 1340 authors, 267 journals and 64 countries from five continents, in both developed and developing nations [7,8,9,10,11,12,13].
The main contributor is the UK, with 140 articles collaborating with 25 countries. This result was to be expected, as, in the 1990s, the government released the first document on the creative industries through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport [24,286]. This document signaled a change in the conversation regarding how the creative and cultural sectors create and provide value [14,287], spreading this knowledge to other European countries, North America and even Asia [288], making the United Kingdom the nation that leads scientific production in this topic. Additionally, the Creative Industries Journal from the United Kingdom has contributed to the dissemination of 65 papers (see Table 2), making it the journal with the most significant number of publications on this subject. As its name suggests, this journal focuses on research methods that draw on creativity, ability, and skill to generate income [289].
The authors with the most prominent scientific output on CE are Minghuei Chen and Jūratė Černevičiūtė. Chen focuses his research on business [182,184], while Černevičiūtė does his research on the analysis of the role of creative and cultural industries in sustainable development [187,290]. The author with the highest impact on this topic due to citations is Greg Richards, with four publications totaling 709 citations (see Table 3). Notably, Richards is one of the creators of the concept of creative tourism, which is a crucial section of the creative economy [291]. In addition, it is essential to note that Richard Florida, American sociologist and economist, is a prominent author considered a forerunner in the study of the creative economy. This author has published critical publications and books that have become global bestsellers and is the founder of the Creative Class Group. However, he does not appear in Table 3 because, for this study, the database only comprises peer-reviewed journal articles. Despite this, as mentioned later in the author’s co-citation analysis, he is a remarkable researcher who has contributed to the intellectual structure of the field (see Figure 4).
The analysis of the intellectual structure involves the use of three bibliometric maps: Firstly, the analysis of the co-occurrence of authors’ keywords (Figure 3) reveals the most relevant topics related to the creative economy (red cluster), creative and cultural industries (green and yellow clusters), and creative class (blue cluster). Similarly, some authors have focused on explorations of the creative economy in business (orange, brown and pink clusters), creativity and human talent (purple and sky-blue cluster).
Secondly, the author’s co-citation analysis shows the interconnections between cited authors (Figure 4). This analysis reveals those authors who have formed the intellectual basis of the study of the creative economy. For example, on creative clusters, the work of Richard Florida and Luciana Lazzeretti (blue cluster), who have examined this subject from an economic point of view, stands out [272,274]. Stuart Cunningham (purple cluster) has focused on exploring various fields concerning creative industries [43,286]. Andy Pratt and Greg Richards (yellow cluster) analyze the cultural sector in aspects such as policies and tourism [275,279]. Other authors, such as Richard Caves (red cluster) and Teresa Amabile (green cluster), presented great and pioneering studies on creativity. Caves focus on the connection between art and commerce [262], while Amabile concentrates on the role of creativity in organizational innovation [266].
Thirdly, the journal co-citation analysis presents the interconnections between journals according to the sources cited by authors in CE (Figure 5). The findings demonstrated that the related studies provide the intellectual underpinnings of the creative economy. Most are in business, management, and economics (green, blue and purple clusters); considering their connections to wealth creation, employment creation, and economic development in society, these drive [17,18,41], alongside business models [57,75], the value creation and innovation of products and services [14,15,213]. The other research area is social sciences (cluster network) by providing access to and supporting public programs that give culture and the legitimacy of the arts as products [50,76,80]. In addition, the industries are driven to consider tangible and intangible heritage, ethnic minority groups and creative cities [40,50,81]. Finally, to a lesser extent, sociology (yellow cluster) is considered for the complex relationships that arise in the production of cultural goods and the community’s social life and satisfaction [21,43,95].

5.1. Limitations

This study has limitations. Firstly, using a single database (Scopus) deprives access to articles found in other databases. In addition, the restriction of the area of study (business, management and accounting) leads to a bias in the information collected, as it only covers some topics. Furthermore, the restriction of document type leads to the suppression of several critical writings such as books. Finally, eliminating current-year articles could have eliminated publications with new theories within the study area.

5.2. Implications and Directions for Future Research

By revealing the cognitive structure of the creative economy and by offering pertinent details about the authors, organizations, and research areas in this academic discipline, this work makes a significant contribution to science. Furthermore, it serves as a reference tool for scholars in this field by revealing details about the intellectual scheme. In addition, this article has several educational implications, as it identifies areas of research that have already received excessive attention from scholars and provides new insights into existing gaps on which future research efforts should focus.
The performance analysis revealed a positive literature trend; however, it is necessary to reflect on the potential of the creative economy and its scope of study. Therefore, some research gaps that future research could address are:
  • Literature review studies: few studies address this topic from the perspective of creative industries [6,159] and cultural industries [292], as well as bibliometric studies in social science, urban studies, arts and humanities [7,34,35]. These publications consider some conceptions of the creative economy in some areas of knowledge. Therefore, there is a need to increase the scope of future research by considering more academic databases and document types.
  • Creative Economy for sustainable development: The creative economy boosts economic growth in cities by promoting their cultural identity, history and cultural centers. This synergy generates income and a better quality of life for its inhabitants [21,293].
  • Digitalization in creative and cultural industries: Digitalization is a process that has marked industries in transforming business models for creating, delivering and capturing value through digital business [294]. Creative and cultural industries are no exception; however, there needs to be more information on how these industries cope with the need to adapt to the digital world [89,295].
  • Creative workers in a distant world: In 2020, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to allow their workers to work from home [296]. This situation opened a window to work from anywhere globally, which has attracted specific groups of workers, such as freelancers and digital nomads [297]. However, there needs to be more literature on how creative workers respond to this new way of working [298].
  • Evaluation of the application of best practices in the creative industry in a post-COVID world: One of the major economic sectors affected by COVID-19 was the tourism industry, due to airport closures and confinement [299], as well as the creative industries related to culture and technological development [54]. For such reasons, many authors presented research and the approach of practices that can serve this industry. Moreover, since these publications are recent, the performance of the procedures can be evaluated in the future [300,301].
  • Global Production Networks: There is an emerging interest on the part of consumers in the origin of their products, as well as the labor conditions that generate them within a production chain of complex transformations, where the role of the creative economy and culture has been scarcely studied [44].
Finally, the contribution of this research is related to (i) guiding researchers to study the structure of the CE in the subject area of business, management and accounting; (ii) examining the existing scientific collaboration between authors and the countries they represent; (iii) getting to know the relevant researchers; (iv) briefly addressing the central themes and topics of the cognitive structure of the CE, and (v) identifying future research directions.

6. Conclusions

This bibliometric analysis made it possible to evaluate the cognitive structure of the creative economy (CE) in business, management and accounting over the last three decades. Furthermore, the performance analysis shows a growing interest in academia and society by registering a scientific production of 687 articles, which shows a concentration of 79.6% during 2011–2021.
The strengthening of CE research has been thanks to the contribution of (i) countries: 46 led by the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and the United States; (ii) Journals: 267, highlighting Creative Industries Journal; (iii) Authors: 1340, where Minghuei Chen from the National Chung Hsing University (Taiwan); and (iv) most cited publication: “Creativity and Tourism. The State of the Art” by Greg Richards of Tilburg University.
The cognitive structure of CE, through the analysis of the co-occurrence of keywords, revealed some research areas, highlighting the creative economy and its various approaches, such as cultural industry, industry, and creative cities. Additionally, the analysis revealed transversal themes such as tourism, entrepreneurship, management, and others related to the human being, such as gender and identity. The co-citation analysis of authors and journals revealed the leading exponents of the research topics. Furthermore, this analysis showed the subject areas that formed the knowledge base of CE related to business, management, economics, social sciences and sociology.
The present research can serve as reference literature to facilitate access to CE information on the research topics and themes, leading authors and countries, and relevant researchers. Furthermore, this information allows for establishing collaborative networks among researchers.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, H.R.-I. and N.M.-B.; methodology, H.R.-I., N.M.-B. and K.P.-G.; software, N.M.-B. and K.P.-G.; validation, N.M.-B., O.S.-R. and M.Y.-M.; formal analysis, H.R.-I., N.M.-B., O.S.-R., M.Y.-M. and K.P.-G.; investigation, H.R.-I., N.M.-B., O.S.-R., M.Y.-M. and K.P.-G.; resources, H.R.-I. and N.M.-B.; data curation, N.M.-B. and K.P.-G.; writing—original draft preparation, H.R.-I., N.M.-B., O.S.-R., M.Y.-M. and K.P.-G.; writing—review and editing, H.R.-I., N.M.-B., O.S.-R., M.Y.-M. and K.P.-G.; visualization, N.M.-B. and K.P.-G.; supervision, N.M.-B.; project administration, H.R.-I. and N.M.-B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.


This study was supported by the research project of the ESPOL Polytechnic University: “Capital Intelectual, Innovación y Desempeño Empresarial en Ecuador” (Intellectual Capital, Innovation and Business Performance in Ecuador) with code no. FCSH-GI-I2MAKER-20-2021. We also appreciate the support of NOVA Science Research Associates and Centro de Investigaciones y Proyectos Aplicados a las Ciencias de la Tierra (CIPAT)—ESPOL Polytechnic University. Finally, the authors appreciate the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Figure 1. Trajectory of the literature on creative economy (1985–2021).
Figure 1. Trajectory of the literature on creative economy (1985–2021).
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Figure 2. Collaboration of countries in the scientific production of creative economy (1985–2021).
Figure 2. Collaboration of countries in the scientific production of creative economy (1985–2021).
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Figure 3. Co-occurrence author keyword network.
Figure 3. Co-occurrence author keyword network.
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Figure 4. Authors co-citation analysis network.
Figure 4. Authors co-citation analysis network.
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Figure 5. Bibliometric map of co-citation of cited authors.
Figure 5. Bibliometric map of co-citation of cited authors.
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Table 1. The most productive countries.
Table 1. The most productive countries.
1United Kingdom1404148
3United States701707
Table 2. The most productive journals.
Table 2. The most productive journals.
RankJournals NameTP 1% 2H 3SJR 4CS 5
1Creative Industries Journal659.46%90.331.8
2Industry and Innovation223.20%611.045.2
4Creativity and Innovation Management213.06%600.894.8
5Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society192.77%190.361.2
6International Journal of Arts Management131.89%130.411.4
7Human Relations101.46%1342.908.5
8Innovation: Management, Policy and Practice101.46%300.773.8
9Transformations in Business and Economics91.31%200.372.6
10Journal of Business Research81.16%1952.3211.2
TP 1 = Total papers; % 2 = contribution percentage; H 3 = H-Index; SJR 4 = SCImago Journal Rank; CS 5 = CiteScore 2021.
Table 3. Top 10 most productive authors.
Table 3. Top 10 most productive authors.
RankAuthorsAT 1CitationsCountriesInstitute/UniversityHI 2
1Chen, Minghuei7176TaiwanNational Chung Hsing University17
2Černevičiūtė, Jūratė766LithuaniaVilniaus Gedimino Technikos Universitetas7
3Hennekam, Sophie A.M.699FranceAudencia13
4Eikhof, Doris Ruth6419United KingdomUniversity of Glasgow9
5Chang, Yuyu6176TaiwanNational Cheng Kung University9
6Daniel, Ryan James641AustraliaJames Cook University7
7Strazdas, Rolandas639LithuaniaVilniaus Gedimino Technikos Universitetas4
8Bennett, Dawn580AustraliaCurtin University18
9Messeni Petruzzelli, Antonio4132ItalyPolitecnico di Bari39
10Richards, Greg4709NetherlandsBreda University of Applied Sciences32
AT 1 = Articles; HI 2 = H-index.
Table 4. The most productive journals.
Table 4. The most productive journals.
RankArticlesAuthorsYearTC 1DT 2ACI 3REF 4
1Creativity and Tourism. The State of the ArtRichards G.2011375Review37.50 [159]
2From Moby Dick to Free Willy: Macro-cultural Discourse and Institutional Entrepreneurship in Emerging Institutional FieldsLawrence T.B. and Phillips N.2004247Article14.53 [141]
3Introduction to Paradoxes of Creativity: Managerial and Organizational Challenges in the Cultural EconomyDeFillippi R., Grabher G. and Jones C.2007190Review13.57 [142]
4Beyond Networks and Hierarchies: Latent Organizations in the U.K. Television IndustryStarkey K., Barnatt C. and Tempest S.2000185Article8.81 [143]
5Small Businesses in the New Creative Industries: Innovation as a People Management ChallengeHotho S. and Champion K.2011180Article18.00 [192]
6Balancing the Tensions between Rationalization and Creativity in the Video Games IndustryTschang F.T.2007179Article12.79 [66]
7Do Creative Industries Cluster? Mapping Creative Local Production Systems in Italy and SpainLazzeretti L., Boix R. and Capone F.2008176Article13.54 [191]
8Creative Industries after the First Decade of DebateFlew T. and Cunningham S.2010172Article15.64 [6]
9Cultural Tourism: A Review of Recent Research and TrendsRichards G.2018170Article56.67 [81]
10For Art’s Sake! Artistic and Economic Logics in Creative ProductionEikhof D.R. and Haunschild A.2007162Article11.57 [193]
TC 1 = Total citations; DT 2 = document type; ACI 3 = annual citation index; REF 4 = references.
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Rodríguez-Insuasti, H.; Montalván-Burbano, N.; Suárez-Rodríguez, O.; Yonfá-Medranda, M.; Parrales-Guerrero, K. Creative Economy: A Worldwide Research in Business, Management and Accounting. Sustainability 2022, 14, 16010.

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Rodríguez-Insuasti H, Montalván-Burbano N, Suárez-Rodríguez O, Yonfá-Medranda M, Parrales-Guerrero K. Creative Economy: A Worldwide Research in Business, Management and Accounting. Sustainability. 2022; 14(23):16010.

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Rodríguez-Insuasti, Homero, Néstor Montalván-Burbano, Otto Suárez-Rodríguez, Marcela Yonfá-Medranda, and Katherine Parrales-Guerrero. 2022. "Creative Economy: A Worldwide Research in Business, Management and Accounting" Sustainability 14, no. 23: 16010.

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