Studies aiming at valuing cultural and natural heritage projects are often focussed on one or only a few sites, whereas planning decisions concerning the allocation of public funds to heritage conservation deal with classes of heritage rather than single sites. In addition, such planning decisions are almost always concerned with non-monetary values that need to be incorporated into assessment procedures if the total value of alternative strategies is to be estimated. In this paper, we put forward and estimate models to address both of these issues within a choice-modelling framework. The method is developed in the context of conservation of a particular class of cultural heritage, namely major historic buildings in a city or country. We report results from a discrete choice experiment to assess public preferences in which the choices are alternative conservation programs and the attributes are dimensions of the programs’ cultural and economic value. The model is estimated from survey data using several flexible econometric specifications. We show that the methods developed can be used to obtain robust estimates of the economic value of this category of buildings. We also find a significant contribution of all aspects of cultural value to the formation of conservation preferences and the public’s willingness to pay.
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- Choice experiments
- Heritage conservation
- Public preferences