The debate has often focused upon the tools of public support of the arts, notably direct financial grants and tax exemptions. Such tools can be properly analysed only in the light of the legislative framework, represented by the «rules of the game» within which each cultural institution - both public and private - works. Rules are quite crucial in defining the economic setting, establishing principles such as freedom of artistic expression, but also setting constraints such as limitations in the international circulation of art works. When direct support comes at stake, potential influences from governmental departments are possible, as some recent experience seems to suggest; this is one of the reasons why indirect support is often preferred, along with the opportunity for the cultural sector to evolve dynamically instead of rigidly maintain the existing structure (also including barriers to entry). Rather than trying to measure the differential impact of either tool, it seems more sensible to concentrate upon the realistic improvements that each of them can bear.