Cultural participation in Europe: Can we identify common determinants?

Martin Falk, Tally Katz-Gerro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-162
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Cultural Economics
Issue number2
Early online date10 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Cross-National comparison
  • Cultural participation
  • Cultural policy
  • Europe


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