Chapter 28 Cultural Heritage: Economic Analysis and Public Policy

Ilde Rizzo, David Throsby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearch


This chapter shows how economic theory and public policy analysis can illuminate decision-making relating to cultural heritage. We argue that from an economic viewpoint the appropriate conceptualisation of heritage is as a capital asset. Regarding heritage as cultural capital invites consideration of sustainability aspects, in parallel with the treatment of natural capital in economic theory, allowing us to derive a sustainability rule for cultural capital accumulation. The application of cost-benefit analysis to heritage investment appraisal is discussed, with particular reference to the assessment of non-market benefits. Turning to policy issues, we examine ways in which governments intervene in heritage markets, with particular attention to listing and other forms of regulation. Questions of institutional design, financing and policy delivery in a multi-jurisdictional framework are discussed, and finally the role of the private sector is considered, with emphasis on the possibility of crowding out and the incentive effects of public policy on private behaviour in the heritage field.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of the Economics of Art and Culture
EditorsVictor A. Ginsburg, David Throsby
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameHandbook of the Economics of Art and Culture


  • cultural capital
  • devolution
  • fiscal federalism
  • non-market benefits
  • regulation
  • sustainable development

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