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GINI DP 77: Educational stratification in cultural participation: Cognitive competence or status motivation?


  • Natascha Notten

    (Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)

  • Bram Lancee

    (Research unit Migration, Integration, Transnationalization, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB))

  • Herman Werfhorst

    (FMG, Universiteit van Amsterdam)

  • Ganzeboom, H.B.G.


This article examines inequalities in highbrow cultural participation in 18 countries. It tests whether inequalities in such participation occur because of the status conferred by consumption of high culture, or whether they are more a result of differences in cognitive competencies. Inequalities are represented by respondents’ education. By filtering out the effects of cognitive abilities, measured by a person’s literacy skills, we obtain a net measure of the status motives for cultural behavior. Our analysis demonstrates that the net (i.e., status) effect of education on cultural participation is reduced in societies with greater educational expansion and intergenerational educational mobility. This is in line with the status explanation, which holds that exclusionary boundaries between educational groups become less rigid when there are more high-educated individuals in a society and when these originate more frequently from lower social backgrounds. In contrast, the relation between a person’s cognitive skills and their cultural participation is unaffected by distributional variation in education, as the cognitive theory predicts.

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  • Natascha Notten & Bram Lancee & Herman Werfhorst & Ganzeboom, H.B.G., 2013. "GINI DP 77: Educational stratification in cultural participation: Cognitive competence or status motivation?," GINI Discussion Papers 77, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aia:ginidp:77

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
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    1. Bertacchini, Enrico & Venturini, Alessandra & Zotti, Roberto, 2019. "Drivers of Cultural Participation of Immigrants: Evidence from an Italian Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 12854, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Agovino, Massimiliano & Crociata, Alessandro & Quaglione, Davide & Sacco, Pierluigi & Sarra, Alessandro, 2017. "Good Taste Tastes Good. Cultural Capital as a Determinant of Organic Food Purchase by Italian Consumers: Evidence and Policy Implications," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 66-75.
    3. Andrey David Ramos Ramírez & Nora Elena Espinal Monsalve, 2020. "Aplicación de modelos de elección discreta regularizados para el análisis de los determinantes del consumo cultural en Colombia: el caso de los bienes del patrimonio cultural [Aplicação de modelos reg," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 30(1), pages 37-68, January-A.
    4. Juan Gabriel Brida & Chiara Dalle Nogare & Raffaele Scuderi, 2016. "Frequency of museum attendance: motivation matters," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 40(3), pages 261-283, August.
    5. Miriam Šebová & Zuzana Révészová, 2020. "Unveiling Trends in Cultural Participation: The Case of Slovakia," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(11), pages 1-14, October.

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