Heritage economics: a conceptual framework

David Throsby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter outlines a conceptual framework that integrates various strands from the discussion of heritage economics and provides an interpretation of some of the major issues of concern. The chapter is structured as follows: first, the basic concept of heritage as asset is discussed, placing it clearly into the context of capital theory. This leads, in the section on sustainability, to a consideration of the parallels between heritage as cultural capital on the one hand and environmental resources as natural capital on the other. These parallels have implications for the sustainability of the cultural and natural resources involved. The central issue in heritage economics is the question of value, discussed in detail further in the section on value and valuation; the analysis here divides the value embodied in or generated by heritage assets into economic and cultural components, and considers the critical issue of measurement. In the next section, the framework is extended to the policy arena, with a discussion of the major economic instruments for the implementation of heritage policy. The final section describes a case study of the application of some of the principles of heritage economics to a cultural investment project developed in Skopje, capital of FYR Macedonia, assisted by a World Bank project.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe economics of uniqueness
Subtitle of host publicationinvesting in historic city cores and cultural heritage assets for sustainable development
EditorsGuido Licciardi, Rana Amirtahmasebi
Place of PublicationWashington, DC
PublisherWorld Bank Group
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780821397060
ISBN (Print)9780821396506
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameUrban Development Series


  • SITE


Dive into the research topics of 'Heritage economics: a conceptual framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this