The cultural hierarchy in funding: Government funding of the performing arts based on ethnic and geographic distinctions

Tal Feder, Tally Katz-Gerro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We construct a cultural hierarchy of arts organizations in Israel based on government funding, building on the premise that patterns of government funding of arts organizations over time represent priorities driven by cultural policy. We investigate how this hierarchy corresponds to the social hierarchy among ethnic and national groups and between the center and periphery, and whether changes in funding over time in the center and the periphery are differentially associated with the changing socio-demographic characteristics of Israeli society. Our data include public funding allotted to 32 arts organizations representing three performing arts domains: theaters, orchestras, and dance companies from 1960 to 2011. Our findings demonstrate that theaters are at the top of the funding hierarchy, orchestras in the middle, and dance companies receive the least funding. Significant differences in funding exist between organizations with different ethnic or national orientations such that the social hierarchy, in which Ashkenazim are more privileged than Mizrachim, and Mizrachim are more privileged than Israeli Arabs is reproduced in arts funding. Finally, the gap in funding favoring organizations in the center has been decreasing since the mid-1990s and funding trends have similar associations with economic and demographic changes in the societal makeup.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)76-95
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Arts organizations
  • Budget analysis
  • Cultural policy
  • Cultural spending

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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