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Socio-economic Impacts of Culture

What Could be Potential Socio-economic Impacts of Culture?

Culture refers to characteristic patterns of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors shared by members of a society or population. Members of a cultural group share characteristics that distinguish them from other groups. Cultural differences will affect the receptivity of a individual to indivudal education and willingness to accept information and incorporate it into his or her lifestyles. It is important to remember that even individual education interaction has a cultural dimension.

Culture is a way of living, thinking, and behaving. Culture is learned within the family and guides the ways we solve problems and live our daily lives. Ethnicity is closely related to culture, although ethnicity usually refers to a particular cultural group or race that interacts and has common interests. Often there is as much diversity within ethnic groups as between them - important to consider in the face of the current refugee crisis.

Culture includes many elements, including language, customs, beliefs, traditions, and ways of communicating. Another way of defining culture is to describe is “as the way things are done around here.” This way one can conclude that culture plays an important role and in fact causes impacts development in several different fields of our daily life. Certain of them are direct and several indirect effects of culture of which some of them are listed below:

Valued Socio-Economic Component


Social Cohesion
  • Intercultural orientation vs. Xenophobia
  • Integration of disabled persons or refugees
Innovation and Creativity
  • Social relevance of new, unfamiliar ideas
  • Opportunity for startup firms
  • Propensity to entrepreneurial risk
  • Artistic models for the development or 'testing' of new products and services
  • Individualist vs. collectivist cultural perspectives on education
  • Capacity and knowledge building
  • Intercultural education
Wellbeing and Health
  • Psychological general wellbeing
  • Prevention and therapy effectiveness
  • Welfare costs
  • Family cohesion & relationships between youth and elders
  • Health beliefs: medical treatments vs. spiritual interventions
  • Effectiveness of waste recycling
  • Socio-environmental responsibility
  • Willingness to pay for greener economies and societies
  • Population sustainability: In- and out-migration effects / Change in social and cultural maekup of affected communities
Economic Influences
  • Business competitiveness through innovation
  • Creative and cultural industries
  • Tourism and attractiveness of destinations
  • Cultural resources as driver for growth and employment opportunities
  • Cultural sponsorship and patronage
Communication and interactions
  • Languages
  • Cultural beliefs and behaviour
  • Minorities and their legacy
 Society and social behaviour
  • enhancing understanding and capacity for action;
  • creating and retaining identity;
  • modifying values and preferences for collective choice;
  • building social cohesion;
  • contributing to integrated community development; and
  • fostering civic participation


The Compendium Addressing Socio-economic Impacts of Culture

Since the beginning of the Compendium project, several different socio-economic impacts of culture have been treated both as a transversal issue of relevance in different areas of cultural policy making and as a theme of specific sub-chapters in the Compendium country profiles. As a consequence, there are several strands of related information and data  found in various sub-sections of individual Compendium country profiles.

Some of this content has been condensed into comparative / statistical tables that address e.g.: Gender Equality and Cultural Policies, Government Action to Implement Social and Fiscal Measures for Self-Employed Artists, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Intercultural Education, Selected Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue Policies in Different Sectors, Challenges to Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue Policies, Laws and Policies Supporting Main National Minority Groups, Active cultural participation in Europe, Private Sector Sponsorship, Cultural imports, exports and trade balance, European Household Recreation and Culture Expenditure, Share of cultural workers in cultural and total employment; etc.

Together with important background documents and links to research, such information can assist governments and NGOs in their efforts to start monitoring and comparing policies and related measures that aim at enhancing different socio-economic impacts of culture for different groups of the population. As well, reflection processes are supported in order to determine, in which way certain socio-economic impacts play an essential role in democratic governance as well as for a sustainable democratic society.

It is, therefore, appropriate to consider the Compendium as one of the tools to be used in processes of systematic Socio-economic Impact Assessment (SEIA), particularly as regards a broad range of culture-related impacts on policy-making.