Artists, audiences & wellbeing: An economic analysis
Keywords:Cultural Engagement, Artist, Life satisfaction, Malta
We set out to examine the relationship between cultural engagement and wellbeing in a European Union state, Malta. We specify a conceptual model of wellbeing, captured by self-assessed life satisfaction as the predicted variable. Armed with a rich dataset (n = 1,125), drawn from a nationally representative sample, we construct variables that capture the diverse forms of cultural participation including a variable that identifies artists. We test three hypotheses, namely that passive cultural participation (audience) is positively associated with life satisfaction, that active (productive) cultural participation is positively associated with life satisfaction, and that artists have a higher level of life satisfaction, all else being equal. We find that both active and passive participation activities are associated with higher levels of life satisfaction; that active participation (including production, donation and travel) manifests a stronger relationship with life satisfaction than passive participation; and that life satisfaction is higher among those who identify as artists even after the effects of all other control variables are parsed out. This being the first nationally representative study on life satisfaction in Malta, the study makes a useful contribution in this regard, finding that factors like employment, health, engagement in sport, politics, religion, environment, as well as region of residence and migration are all significant correlates of life satisfaction.
Copyright (c) 2020 Marie Briguglio, Gilmour Camilleri, Melchior Vella
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