Social Capital and Support for the Arts

January 20, 2004 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Harris School, Woodlawn Room

Presenter: Jeffrey Milyo, Assistant Professor, Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004, 4-6 p.m.
Harris School, Woodlawn Room

View Jeffrey Milyo's paper: "Social Capital and Support for Public Funding of the Arts"

Several influential social scientists have argued that social capital is an important determinant of support for government programs, but this claim has not been applied to public support for the arts and artistic expression. This project is the first empirical investigation of the extent to which social capital is a determinant of support for the arts, using statistical analysis to identify the independent effect of social capital on individual opinions regarding government and other types of funding for the arts.

Professor Milyo will exploit some of the unique features of the General Social Survey (GSS) to conduct this analysis. Much of the research on social capital makes use of the GSS, since it contains several questions pertaining to voluntary associations, social connectedness and social trust; responses to these types of questions have been used to construct measures of individual and state level proxies for social capital. Milyo conducted a multivariate statistical analysis using GSS data regarding support for the arts and support for government funding of the arts. He used a range of socioeconomic and demographic data (such as age, education, income, race, marital status, political ideology, etc.) as control variables. He used information on homeownership, religion and other variables that are often cited as important determinants of social capital as "instruments" to identify the direct and independent treatment effect of social capital on support for the arts.

ABOUT JEFFREY MILYO: Jeffrey Milyo is an assistant professor in the Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy Studies. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. Milyo was a political economy fellow at both Washington University in St. Louis and jointly at Harvard/MIT; he was also named a Salvatori Fellow by the Heritage Foundation and was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Yale University.

Milyo’s primary research area is the political economics of American public policy. Recent studies have explored the role of money in American politics and the efficacy of campaign finance reform. His other recent research examines the organization of Congress and the federal budget process, the effects of advertising prohibitions on retail markets and the importance of social determinants of health. Milyo’s work has been published in several scholarly journals, including the American Economics Review; the Journal of Law and Economics; the Journal of Human Resources; the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management; the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law;Business and Politics and Public Choice. In addition, Milyo has served as an instructor in several workshops for congressional staffers and as a member of a special commission on campaign finance reform in Massachusetts.


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