Analyzing Cultural Distances in the United States

Coming Apart? Cultural Distances in the United States over Time

This study examines how different groups in the United States, including those defined by income, education, gender, race, and political ideology, have evolved in terms of their cultural differences over time. Cultural distance is measured by various factors, such as media consumption, consumer behavior, social attitudes, time use, and even newborn’s names. The findings reveal that gender differences in time use decreased between 1965 and 1995 but have remained stable since then. On the other hand, differences in social attitudes, particularly related to political ideology, and to some extent income, have increased over the past four decades. Additionally, there has been a divergence in consumer behavior between White and non-White populations. However, for most other demographic divisions and cultural dimensions, cultural distance has remained relatively consistent over time.

Bertrand, Marianne, and Emir Kamenica. 2023. “Coming Apart? Cultural Distances in the United States over Time.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 15 (4): 100-141.


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