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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.
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Chapter 13: A Contingent Valuation Study of the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen

Applying Environmental Valuation Techniques to Historic Buildings, Monuments and Artifacts

Trine Bille


Trine Bille Reprinted from Hume Papers on Public Policy, Volume 6, No. 3, 1998; Heritage, the Environment and the Arts: Pricing the priceless, pp. 38–66, with permission from Edinburgh University Press BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In this chapter some of the results of a study, with the purpose of valuing a quasi-private cultural good, namely the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, using the contingent valuation method (CVM), are presented.1 The intention is to investigate if CVM can be used in order to estimate the total value of the Royal Theatre to the Danish population and to study whether the value of the Royal Theatre’s non-market benefits can justify the public grants given to the theatre. A CV study of the Royal Theatre is therefore of direct political interest, as it can reveal whether the Royal Theatre “is worth the money” from the taxpayers’ point of view. This application of CVM is quite new. For the most part CVM has been used on environmental goods.2 In the literature there are only a few examples of utilization of CVM for cultural goods (e.g. Martin, 1994; Throsby and Withers, 1983; Morrison and West, 1986), and most of these studies have used CVM on very broadly defined goods, i.e. public support for the arts in general. This limited use of CVM in the literature of cultural economics is quite surprising, as much of this literature deals with legitimizing public subsidies to the arts, which clearly appears from the following quotation of Professor David Throsby...

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