Macquarie University
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Cultural consumption and participation in China

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posted on 2024-04-08, 04:33 authored by Ruoxi Wang

Cultural consumption and participation play an increasingly important role in generating economic and social benefits for consumers in many countries. This is particularly important in China in view of the country’s historically emerging economic development and institutional background, which places a strong emphasis on both the cultural and economic objectives of cultural policies. This thesis provides a thorough analysis of consumption behaviours and participation in cultural activities such as movies, reading, and performing arts in China. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) we conduct three empirical analyses.

First, the thesis examines the general determinants of cultural participation in China, with a particular interest in the effects of its unique household registration system, hukou, and the possible interaction with the actual urban/rural location. Our zero-inflated ordered probit model studies significant spatial impacts on participation, which allows us to estimate both the probabilities of being a non-attendee and the frequency of attendance for actual and potential cultural consumers.

Having identified potential cultural consumers, this thesis then provides evidence of the impact on cultural participation of the government’s use of subsidies as part of its ongoing consumption stimulus policies. Based on propensity score matching (PSM) and difference-in-difference (DID) methods, we evaluate consumers’ responses to cultural products when prices fall. In addition, we compare the effectiveness of different cultural subsidy instruments and how consumers with different personal characteristics make selections from subsidised cultural products.

The final empirical analysis of this thesis explores the relationship between cultural participation and subjective well-being (SWB). Based on PSM and Hicksian compensating surplus, we quantify how SWB is affected by different levels of accessibility among activities and which specific activities can bring about improvements in the utility of Chinese residents. Some conclusions are drawn concerning the policy implications from the major findings. 


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. The role of the hukou system in cultural participation in China -- 3. The impact of consumption stimulus policy on cultural participation in China -- 4. Cultural participation, subjective well-being and consumer surplus: a matching approach -- 5. Conclusions -- List of Abbreviations -- Bibliography

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Doctor of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Economics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Charles Throsby

Additional Supervisor 1

Jordi McKenzie


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




159 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 281984

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