Household Decisions on Arts Consumption: How Men Can Avoid the Ballet
The literature on drivers of cultural consumption has shown that in addition to such factors as age, income and education, spousal preferences and characteristics are important in deter- mining how much and which cultural goods are consumed. Gender differences in preferences in arts consumption have also been shown to be important and persist after accounting for class, education and other socio-economic factors (Bihagen and Katz-Gerro, 2000). This paper explores to what extent this difference in preferences can be used to shed light on the decision process in multi-person households. Based on relatively recent theoretical developments in the literature on household decision making, we use three different so-called distribution factors to infer whether changes in the relative bargaining power of spouses induce changes in arts consumption. Using a large sample from the US Current Population Survey which includes data on the frequency of visits to various categories of cultural activities, we regress attendance rates on a range of socio-economic variables using a suitable count data model. We find that attendance by men at events such as the opera, ballet and other dance performances, which are more frequently attended by women than by men, show a significant influence from the distribution factors. This significant effect persists irrespectively of which distribution factor is used. We conclude that more powerful men tend to participate in these activities less frequently than less powerful men, conditionally on a host of controls notably including hours worked.
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