This paper investigates the possible determinants of attendance at cultural and artistic events in Istanbul, Turkey, which was designated one of Europe’s cultural capitals in 2010. The unique data set used in this study was drawn from a representative sample of households in Istanbul by selecting one individual over the age of 18 from each household for interview. A professional research company in Istanbul used clustered random sampling to collect information from 100 main and 100 substitute clusters from the Istanbul area. Zero-inflated negative binomial methodology was used to analyze the determinants of attendance at different cultural events in Istanbul. In the regression analysis, we grouped all cultural activities into two categories for the dependent variables: “cultural heritage” and “performing arts and cinema”. The performing arts and cinema category comprised six activities (theatre, cinema, opera-ballet-modern dance, classical music concerts, rock-pop-jazz concerts, classical Turkish folk arabesque concerts) while other activities were included in the cultural heritage category. We found very similar results to previous studies regarding many determinants of cultural attendance. Contrary to most previous results, however, which are derived from representative samples from Western countries, we found strong negative gender effects and differences in female cultural participation depending on the type of activity. Gender determinants of cultural participation have been addressed in two main ways: as one more variable in the “mixed factors” category or as a manifestation of gender roles and social norms. Other things being equal, being a woman increases the probability of never having participated in more social cultural events (the going-out dimension of cultural attendance). We therefore recommend policies to empower women’s participation in and sharing of cultural activities.

Author Biography

Sacit Hadi Akdede is a professor of economics at Izmir Bakircay University in Izmir, Turkey. His work centers around cultural economics, political economy, and public economics. He has published in journals like Journal of Cultural Economics, Empirical Studies of the Arts, The Social Science Journal, Applied Economics Letters, Economics letters. Recently he is working on the economics of Broadway.

Victoria Ateca-Amestoy is an associate professor of economics at Economic Analysis II. University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain. Her work centers around cultural economics, welfare economics, subjective well-being, econmetrics, and microeconomics. Her recent publication appeared in journals like journal of cultural economics, Journal of happiness studies, Social Indicators Research, European Journal of Operational Research