Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

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

Reeves, Aaron and de Vries, Robert (2018) Can cultural consumption increase future earnings? Exploring the economic returns to cultural capital. Working Paper (20). International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

[img] Text (LSE III - Working Paper 20) - Published Version
Download (910kB)
[img] Text (Plain Language Summary)
Download (148kB)


Cultural consumption is often viewed as a form of embodied cultural capital which can be converted into economic rewards because such practices increase the likelihood of moving into privileged social positions. However, quantitative evidence supporting this proposition 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 U.S. and the U.K., but it is unclear whether these processes are generaliseable 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: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors
Divisions: International Inequalities Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2019 14:27
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2020 00:55

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics