Empirical Evidence of the Effects of Marriage on Male and Female Attendance at Sports and Arts


  • *Direct correspondence to Michael D. Robinson, Department of Economics, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075 〈mirobins@mtholyoke.edu〉 All data and coding information are available from the same author. The authors thank several anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


Objectives. This article provides an examination of how men and women spend their recreational attendance time and how their behavior differs when they are single and married. The battle of the sexes model and the theory of artistic human capital acquisition from one's spouse both suggest that married individuals will have different patterns of attendance than singles.

Methods. Using data from the Performing Arts Research Coalition, we estimate a number of models to examine the differences between male and female attendance at art, professional sports, and popular culture events for those single and married.

Results. We find that single males prefer sports, while single females prefer the arts. As predicted by the battle of the sexes model, men are more likely and women less likely to attend art events after marriage. This increase in male attendance is also predicted by human capital models of attendance that argue that the choice of art events is based on acquired tastes that can be influenced by the human capital of one's spouse. The battle of the sexes model, however, also predicts a decline in male and an increase in female attendance at professional sports. We find a small increase in female, but also an increase in male, attendance.

Conclusions. The behavior of married and single males and females tends to correspond to the predictions made by the battle of the sexes and human capital models of attendance.