Valuing Cultural Heritage

Valuing Cultural Heritage

Applying Environmental Valuation Techniques to Historic Buildings, Monuments and Artifacts

Edited by Ståle Navrud and Richard C. Ready

What value do we place on our cultural heritage, and to what extent should we preserve historic and culturally important sites and artefacts from the ravages of weather, pollution, development and use by the general public? This innovative book attempts to answer these important questions by exploring how non-market valuation techniques – used extensively in environmental economics – can be applied to cultural heritage. The book includes twelve comprehensive case studies that estimate public values for a diverse set of cultural goods, including English cathedrals, Bulgarian monasteries, rock paintings in Canada, statues in the US, and a medieval city in Africa.

Chapter 14: Individual Preferences and Allocation Mechanisms for a Cultural Public Good: ‘Napoli Musei Aperti’

Walter Santagata and Giovanni Signorello

Subjects: environment, environmental sociology, politics and public policy, public policy


Navrud 03 chap 12 3/4/02 11:55 am Page 238 14. Individual preferences and allocation mechanisms for a cultural public good: “Napoli Musei Aperti” Walter Santagata and Giovanni Signorello INTRODUCTION Estimating the economic value for cultural public goods provides basic information for their optimal provision (Green and Laffont, 1979; Starret, 1988) and for designing efficient and fair regulatory policies in the cultural sector. Measuring the total value, i.e. use value and passive-use values, is a difficult exercise and requires non-market techniques such as contingent valuation (CV) (Pommerehne, 1987; Mitchell and Carson, 1989). CV is a survey-based approach, in which representative individuals are asked to report information about their maximum willingness to pay (WTP) to secure or avoid the supposed change in the level of provision of the public good. In the last three decades an intensive research program has been devoted to the refinements in CV. As a result of this effort, CV has advanced and matured to such a point that it is now generally considered a useful and necessary informative tool in economics and policy analysis of public goods (Hanemann, 1994; Navrud, 1992). This chapter presents some results of a CV study aimed at measuring holistically the total benefits accruing to the local residents from maintaining the provision of Napoli Musei Aperti, a cultural public good provided in Naples (Santagata and Signorello, 2000). In the survey we tried to place respondents in an incentive-compatible situation, and attempted to adhere to many of the most accredited devices, such as...

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