Cultural Heritage

  • Bruno S. FreyEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Economics book series (BRIEFSECONOMICS)


Cultural heritage is composed of built, moveable, intangible, and natural objects. Only a small proportion of their benefits are reflected in monetary form, but these are positive externalities. Not everything can be preserved, because this would block the further development of cities and regions. Many heritage goods have the property of a public good; people not paying a fee cannot be excluded from consumption. If the measured total benefits are superior to the total cost involved in keeping up a heritage object, a society is better off preserving it.


Built heritage Moveable heritage Intangible heritage Natural heritage Preservation Public good World Heritage Sites Historical centres Use values Non-use values Government intervention 

Related Literature

Pathbreaking contributions are

  1. Hutter M, Rizzo I (eds) (1997) Economic perspectives of cultural heritage. Palgrave Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Klamer A, Throsby D (2000) Paying for the past: the economics of cultural heritage. World Culture Report. UNESCO, New York, pp 130–145Google Scholar
  3. Mossetto G, Vecco M (2001) Economia del patrimonio monumentale. F. Angeli, VeniceGoogle Scholar
  4. Peacock A (1998) Does the past have a future? The political economy of heritage. Institute of Economic Affairs, LondonGoogle Scholar

There are several very useful collections of articles that contain contributions to specific aspects of cultural heritage. For instance, the book edited by Rizzo and Mignosa contains case studies for various sites in the United Kingdom, China, Italy, Egypt, Japan, and Latin America

  1. Rizzo I, Mignosa A (eds) (2013) Handbook on the economics of cultural heritage. Edward Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  2. Rizzo I, Towse R (eds) (2002) The economics of heritage. Edward Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREW - Center for Research in Economics and Well-BeingUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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