The economic valuation of culture: methods, management and policy

This course is part of the programme
Doctoral study programme Cultural Heritage Studies

Objectives and competences

Students acquire knowledge of the main economic techniques to assess the value of public goods and culture in a multi dimensional perspective. Quantitative, qualitative, monetary and non monetary tools are addressed. The evaluation toolkit sets the basis to design management and policy strategies.


No specific prerequisites are required.


h1. 1. The rationale for the economic evaluation of public goods: methods, techniques and policy aims
a) The public good framework: non market values, impure public goods, market failures
b) The concept of total economic value of cultural and environmental goods
c) The boundaries of economic analysis: monetary and non monetary values
d) The appraisal of public investments, discounting and the notion of opportunity costs
e) Cost benefit analysis and multi criteria analysis
f) The discounting dilemma: economics and ethics
g) Demand and the role of consumer preferences

h1. 2. Economic valuation techniques
a) Revealed preference Techniques: analysing ex post real observed data
b) Stated preference Techniques: analysing ex ante non observable data for future strategies
c) Choice experiments: public economics, marketing and planning
d) Non monetary qualitative tools beyond economics: rating preferences and judgement values

h1. 3. Management of Cultural sites
a) The use of Economic valuation techniques for business planning
b) Demand analysis: value, pricing
c) The expansion of demand and inclusion strategies: culture as an experience educational goods
d) Managing cultural sites through efficient and equitable pricing
e) Fundraising through value elicitation
f) Case studies

h1. 4. Policy making in the cultural field
a) Micro and macro rationales for policy making: investments and better allocation of resources
b) Bringing together the State and the market towards complementary settings
c) The use of taxes and subsidies as informed from valuation analysis
d) Cultural policies and public good decentralisation
e) Economic and administrative jurisdictions in global and local contexts

Intended learning outcomes

Students acquire applied and concrete knowledge of how to use economic methods to evaluate non market goods to set up management strategies and policies. They will handle cost benefit analysis and multi criteria analysis. They will be able to carry out Demand analysis for cultural sites and elaborate investment projects, fundraising strategies and business plans that outline all economic and financial values of culture.


  • EFTEC, 2005, Valuation of The historic environment, London. E-version
  • Pearce D.W. Atkinson G. Mourato S., Cost Benefit analysis and the Environment, OECD, 2006 E-version
  • Mazzanti M. (2006), Metodi e tecniche di analisi per la valutazione economica dei beni culturali, Franco Angeli
  • Nuti F. (2001), La valutazione economica delle decisioni pubbliche, Giappichelli
  • Mazzanti, M., 2003, Valuing Cultural Heritage in a Multi-Attribute Framework. Microeconomic Perspectives and Policy Implications, Journal of Socio-Economics, vol.32 E-version
  • Mazzanti, M., 2002, Cultural Heritage as a Multi-dimensional, Multi Value and Multi Attribute Economic Resource, Journal of Socio-Economics, vol. 31, n.5, pp.529-558 E-version
  • Mourato, S., Mazzanti, M., 2002, Valuing Cultural Heritage: Evidence and Prospects, in Assessing the Values of Cultural Heritage, Research Report, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles
  • S. Navrud, R. C. Ready, Valuing Cultural Heritage: Applying Environmental Valuation Techniques to Historic Buildings, Monuments and Artifacts, Edward Elgar, 2002 E-version


• Written assignments. • Open discussion with professor and students. 50/50

Lecturer's references

Massimiliano Mazzanti is currently Associate Professor in Economics, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics & Management. He is research fellow at CERIS-CNR, Institute of theNational Research Council in Milan, dealing extensively with waste and resource issues, with a focus on policy assessment and empirical applications. He is lecturer in Macroeconomics I -Environmental Economics and Policy - Ecological economics at University of Ferrara,Department of Economics & Management and lecturer in Cultural Economics at the University of Bologna, Faculty of Arts. He graduated at the University of Bologna (Italy) then he continued the education with a Msc in Environmental & Natural Resources Economics at the Department of Economics, UCL London and Ph. D. in Economics at the University of Rome Tre. Since 2008 he has been associate Main research fields and publications deal with environmental policy, economics of innovation, economic performance and innovation, economic evaluation by stated preference techniques, waste management and policy, climate change and development.