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Can cultural consumption increase future earnings? Exploring the economic returns to cultural capital

Reeves, Aaron, de Vries, Robert (2019) Can cultural consumption increase future earnings? Exploring the economic returns to cultural capital. British Journal of Sociology, 70 (1). pp. 214-240. ISSN 0007-1315. E-ISSN 1468-4446. (doi:10.1111/1468-4446.12374) (KAR id:66356)


Cultural consumption is often viewed as a form of embodied cultural capital which can be converted into economic rewards (e.g., earnings) because such practices increase the likelihood of moving into more advantaged social positions. However, quantitative evidence supporting this theory remains uncertain because it is often unable to rule out alternative explanations. Cultural consumption appears to influence hiring decisions in some elite firms, in both the US and the UK, but it is unclear whether these processes are applicable to other professional occupations and other labour market processes, such as promotions. We examine these processes using data from Understanding Society, an individual‐level panel survey conducted in the UK, allowing us to explore whether cultural consumption predicts future earnings, upward social mobility and promotions. People who consume a larger number of cultural activities are more likely to earn higher wages in the future, to be upwardly socially mobile, and to be promoted. Cultural consumption, then, can function as cultural capital in some labour market settings, potentially contributing to the reproduction of income inequality between generations.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/1468-4446.12374
Uncontrolled keywords: earnings, hiring, cultural consumption, cultural capital, labour market
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Robert De Vries
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2018 16:42 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:38 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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