Cultural Inequality and Freedom: Rational Choice Approach to SSP 2015 Data

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Jun KOBAYASHI, Seikei University, Japan
This paper theoretically and empirically examines how a sense of freedom is associated with cultural inequality. Bourdieu argues that cultural tastes and activities are exclusive since people with higher socio-economic status exclude others from high cultures. Peterson and others provide a different view. High status people consume not only high cultures but also middle and popular cultures.

Still, both lack what micro individual mechanisms work. So, we hypothesize that people invest in diverse human capital to be cultural omnivores. Using SSP 2015 data in Japan, we measure cultural omnivorousness by a geometric mean of high and middle cultures activities. We analyze a subsample of 2,769 respondents. "Diverse human capital" is measured by sense of freedom.

This paper shows that (1) by the distribution, 52.5 % of the sample were omnivores. (2) By main effects in regression analyses, higher status promotes cultural omnivorousness. Yet (3) by interaction effects, freedom bridges status and cultural activities. Therefore, higher status people are culturally omnivorous, but only when they have enough sense of freedom. This paper specifies how people choose cultural activities at the individual level.