The Economics of Heritage: A Study in the Political Economy of Culture in Sicily

The Economics of Heritage: A Study in the Political Economy of Culture in Sicily

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‘So much economics is written for its club members that it is refreshing to come across a book of essays which is accessible in large measure to those with a working knowledge of economic issues. It is much more than that because it makes a persuasive case for the use of economic analysis in deciding in which areas governments can sensibly act in the presentation and preservation of heritage. Although related specifically to Sicily, the rich heritage of this delectable island offers a unique opportunity for revealing all the major problems of estimating the value of historical artifacts.’

- Sir Alan Peacock, David Hume Institute, Edinburgh, UK

Based on the assumption that without understanding institutions, economists cannot make satisfactory policy prescriptions, this book draws insightful conclusions on the strengths and limitations of applied economics in the field of heritage. Sicily provides an interesting and unique backdrop against which the study is set, demonstrating the economic complexities of heritage and the range of economic tools and concepts which can be employed to analyze it.

The book is a compilation of various approaches that economists trained in different branches of economics have brought to bear on heritage. It considers the political economy of heritage policy from a variety of different perspectives. These include a study of the economic problems of defining and valuing culture and, through detailed case studies in the economics of regulation, an examination of the incentives and principle agent problems in the management of heritage policy. The authors move on to discuss the public choice view of fiscal federalism and look at the problems of assessing the efficiency of policy measures. Finally, they provide an interesting overview of the national experiences of France, Scotland and Italy in terms of heritage policy.

Taking a new institutional approach, this book is as much a concise manual of applied economics as a contribution to cultural economics.It stresses the need for an interdisciplinary approach to the study of heritage and offers a unique opportunity to understand law-making and administrative procedures in the civil code tradition. It will be essential reading for students, researchers andacademics of cultural economics, as well as policymakers wanting to assess the value and efficiency of heritage policies.