Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 85–108 | Cite as

Full-income and price elasticities of demand for German public theatre

President's Prize Paper


This article provides estimates of price and income elasticities of demand for German public theatre, using a large and reliable data set for 178 theatres over 40 years (1965–2004). It is posited that the consumption of the performing arts is a time-intensive activity for which both a theatre ticket and leisure time are necessary. Thus, the impacts of ‘full-income’ (‘leisure time income’ added to disposable income) and the price of leisure time on theatre attendance are examined. The findings indicate that the demand for the performing arts is own-price inelastic. The disposable income elasticity is significant, positive and equals approximately one. In contrast, the full-income elasticity is well above one and greater than usual income elasticity indicating that the performing arts are a luxury good when leisure time income is included in the consumer’s budget. The positive full-income effect is, however, offset by the negative price of leisure effect indicating that leisure time is a complement for the performing arts. Additionally, three objective quality characteristics of theatrical productions which can positively influence theatre demand are examined.


Demand Performing arts Leisure time Quality Nonprofit Germany 

JEL Codes

Z11 L32 L82 D12 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics DepartmentTrinity College DublinDublin 2Ireland

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