Edited by Ruth Towse and Trilce Navarrete Hernández
Chapter 53: Regulation of heritage
This chapter investigates the regulation of built heritage, looking at the main tools, the features of the collective decision-making process and the related economic and policy implications. A general argument stemming from the analysis is that the range and intensity of heritage regulation are the endogenous product of the public decision-making process and are crucially affected by experts (archaeologists, art historians, architects, and so on) who enjoy an informational advantage because of their knowledge and, consequently, high discretional power. Owing to their professional objectives, experts tend to pay scant attention to the opportunity costs of regulation. Consequently, the list of heritage to protect is enlarged, the range of compatible uses is restricted and private investments for conservation are likely to be crowded out, owing to the high costs imposed on them. A side effect is the unsustainable pressure on public expenditure and, consequently, the deterioration of heritage. The enlargement of public participation in decision-making and the reduction of information asymmetries – through consultation and regulation impact assessment – are means to restrain the discretionary scope of heritage regulators and to increase accountability. Their implementation and effectiveness, however, are constrained by the institutional context.
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