When considering such economic concepts as productivity, income, and consumption, it is important to factor in the cultural variables at play in a given area. Research papers on cultural economics consider aspects of culture and society and how they interplay with economic theory. Such variables can include such things as the following:
- Gender roles
- Religious beliefs
- Social norms
Because these variables influence not only the actions of individuals but also societies as a whole, they can have a profound impact on the overall economy of an area.
One of the most important aspects of cultural economics is religion; the beliefs that a person holds can have a profound influence on the role they play in the economy. In an area that is highly populated by conservative Christians, for example, it might be economically beneficial for businesses to be closed on Sundays as a result of a dramatic decline in business. In regions where there is a high concentration of individuals who practice Orthodox Judaism, having a restaurant that has been certified as Kosher could produce an economic boon. Similarly, taking into consideration cultural norms can ensure one is appropriately predicting consumer behavior. It would be unwise for a women's bikini retailer to market in a country like Saudi Arabia; similarly, it would be advantageous for manufacturers of linen and other lightweight materials to market their goods in equatorial countries. By taking into consideration the countless cultural factors that might influence corporate or consumer behaviors, business dealings can be more productive and the end result more positive for all involved.