Table of Contents

Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage

Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage

Elgar original reference

Edited by Ilde Rizzo and Anna Mignosa

Cultural heritage is a complex and elusive concept, constantly evolving through time, and combining cultural, aesthetic, symbolic, spiritual, historical and economic values. The Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage outlines the contribution of economics to the design and analysis of cultural heritage policies and to addressing issues related to the conservation, management and enhancement of heritage.

Chapter 22: The economic, social and cultural impact of cultural heritage: methods and examples

Jen D. Snowball

Subjects: development studies, tourism, economics and finance, cultural economics, public sector economics, environment, tourism, geography, tourism


As in environmental economics, the value, or impact, of cultural heritage on society has to be considered from a number of perspectives. The intrinsic value of heritage refers to the inherent value of the heritage itself, its meaning and importance in a historical, cultural and emotional sense, regardless of any market or financial value that it may have. In this sense, the heritage is part of what Throsby (2001) referred to as ‘cultural capital’, which should be counted as part of the wealth of a region or nation. These sorts of impact are very difficult to capture in a market, and are likely to be public goods, in that, once they are provided, it is not possible to exclude others in the society from using them. Referring to Figure 22.1, intrinsic values can include non-use values (such as option-use, existence values and bequest values) and direct-use value. Non-use values can only be measured using stated preferences (such as willingness-to-pay, WTP, studies and choice experiments, CE), where respondents are asked directly for their valuations of the heritage in question. Revealed preference can be applied when there is some use of the heritage resource. In this case, the time and cost of travel to the heritage site, or differences in housing prices closer to or further away from the heritage resource can be used as indicators of value.

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