Highbrow heritage: The effects of early childhood cultural capital on wealth

Eva Six, Matthias Schnetzer

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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Does exposure to cultural capital in early childhood—in other words, having access to and familiarity with norms of highbrow culture—affect wealth accumulation later in life? We use data from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) to examine the relationship between various forms of cultural capital and wealth holdings in Austria. According to structural equation models, three indicators of cultural family background—the father’s educational attainment, the number of books in the parental household, and regular attendance of cultural activities at the age of ten—are positively correlated with net wealth. While education and income are key channels through which cultural capital affects wealth, we also observe direct effects in several specifications. The results are more marked within the over-50 cohort, suggesting that cultural capital's role in wealth accumulation might have attenuated over decades of social change and educational expansion.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

SeriesINEQ Working Paper Series

WU Working Paper Series

  • INEQ Working Paper Series


  • wealth
  • inequality
  • cultural capital
  • social mobility

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