Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 127–162 | Cite as

Cultural participation in Europe: Can we identify common determinants?

  • Martin Falk
  • Tally Katz-GerroEmail author
Original Article


This article examines the extent to which demographic and socioeconomic characteristics influence the decision to visit and the number of visits to museums, art galleries, historical monuments, and archaeological sites. Using ordered probit models based on data for 350,000 adults in 24 EU countries, we find that the likelihood and number of such visits depend mainly on per capita household income, education, labor market status, and country of birth. Attained characteristics such as education and income have remarkably similar positive effects on cultural participation across the countries in our sample, while the effects of age and gender are both weaker and less consistent across countries. We conclude that cultural distinctions along the lines of socioeconomic attainment are stable even in very different country contexts with varying cultural policies and economic conditions. We discuss the way these results inform three research topics: identification of the characteristics of visitors to museums and historical sites in order to attract new audiences; the effect of public spending on culture on accessibility to cultural sites; and cross-national variation in cultural stratification.


Cultural participation Cross-National comparison Cultural policy Europe 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO)ViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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