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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 27: Public spending for conservation in Italy

Calogero Guccio and Ilde Rizzo

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


The economic relevance of Cultural Heritage (CH) is increasingly recognised in the literature but so far no much attention has been paid to the economic features of public spending for CH conservation. The chapter aims at filling this gap, focusing attention upon the direct demand for conservation exerted by the public sector through its procurement activity. The role of experts and their impact on the outcome of the decision-making process will be examined from a theoretical as well as an empirical point of view. Italy will be used as a case study: the rich CH endowment of the country, the relevant size of CH in public ownership, the extensive role of the public sector make Italy an interesting example to be analysed. Employing a detailed data set on Italian public contracts for CH conservation in the period 2000 to 2005, the chapter tries to investigate whether the costs and the length of CH conservation interventions are affected by the high degree of specialization of contracting authorities. To address such a question, an empirical analysis on the determinants of the performance (on costs and time overrun) of public contracts for CH conservation is carried out. The analysis of the determinants of the performance of CH contracts shows that, ceteris paribus, the search for quality and the expertise characterizing the CH field affect the performance of CH contracts, with specialized contracting authorities paying more attention to the completion of the contract than to the control of the final cost.

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