Women and men differ in their tastes for the performing arts. Gender differences have been shown to persist after accounting for socio-economic factors. This paper uses this difference to shed light on how decisions on arts consumption are made in households. Based on relatively recent theoretical developments in the literature on household decision making, we use three different so- called distribution factors to show for the first time that the relative bargaining power of spouses affects their arts consumption.
Using a sample from the US Current Population Survey, which includes data on the frequency of visits to cultural activities, we regress attendance on a range of socio-economic variables using a count data model. The distribution factors consistently affect attendance by men at events such as the opera, ballet and other dance performances, which are more frequently attended by women than by men. We conclude that more powerful men attend such events less frequently.
This work is co-authored with Caterina Mauri and has been recently submitted to the Journal of Cultural Economics. A working paper version of this project is available here.