Economia Politica

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 139–166 | Cite as

The role of cultural consumption in reducing social exclusion: empirical evidence from Italy in a spatial framework

  • Aniello Ferraro
  • Massimiliano CercielloEmail author
  • Massimiliano Agovino
  • Antonio Garofalo
Original Paper


Social exclusion represents one of the main societal challenges outlined by the Europe 2020 strategy. An influential strand of the theoretical literature argues that cultural consumption may have positive social effects, favouring tolerance and fighting prejudice, thus reducing social exclusion. However, this claim has not been tested on the field. This work investigates empirically the relation between social exclusion and consumption of cultural goods in a spatial framework. Using Eurostat data, we compute the Local Moran Transition Probability Matrix for Italian Regions (NUTS-2) over the 2004–2014 timespan. The results show that social exclusion decreases significantly with cultural consumption. In particular, the spatial clusters that emerge when mapping social exclusion break up when controlling for cultural consumption. These findings point out to the importance of governmental support to cultural goods as an instrument to fight social exclusion. In this sense, cultural goods are to be viewed not only as merit goods and sources of entertainment, but also as a societal heritage and a policy instrument.


Social exclusion Spatial analysis Cultural consumption Cultural policy 

JEL Classification

B55 C33 Z11 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic and Legal StudiesUniversity of Naples ParthenopeNaplesItaly

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