Cultural participation takes many more forms than attendance at highbrow artistic manifestations. Both the opening of cultural boundaries and digitization pose relevant challenges to characterize and explain the ways and reasons for individuals to engage in cultural experiences. In this chapter, we discuss how the economic approach to human behaviour, by Becker, can be a suitable model to study differences in individual rates and intensity of participation no matter the ways in which participation takes place. Humans satisfy a cultural-appreciation need by accessing cultural goods and services combined with personal resources such as time, money, specific human cultural capital and social relations.
This chapter proposes ways to teach individual decision-making models for cultural goods and services and to test the predictions of such models in terms of differences in demand for different groups. Microeconomic models provide the fundamentals to understand how differences in access and demand depend on differences on resources available to different groups. After understanding those differences, students can better address issues as market segmentation and pricing strategies for arts organizations. Data sources are proposed with which to undertake empirical exercises and estimate participation models for representative samples of the population.