Evaluating Cultural Property: The Economic Approach
The preservation of cultural heritage is costly and one has to decide if and which items of cultural heritage are worth preserving. A method for determining the value of cultural heritage is therefore needed. In economics, several evaluation procedures are applied. This article briefly comments on impact studies and willingness- to-pay studies (hedonic market approach and the travel cost approach) and then focuses on contingent valuation surveys. The application of contingent valuation on the arts and related problems are discussed. Finally, the article combines the evaluation methods with democratic decisions by referenda. Switzerland presents an example of referenda held on art policy.