What impacts do we expect from cultural heritage investments?


We used quantitative techniques to estimate the socio-economic impacts of cultural heritage (CH) investments. We did not find any effect, however, the reason for this might be that not enough time passed since the investments for these effects to materialise.

We analysed the cultural heritage investment projects financed by European Union resources in the 2007-2013 period. We used a quasi-experimental approach to this topic, which is not only new in Hungary, but we also have not found any such studies for other countries. Settlements, where CH investment projects occured in the first part of the observation period were compared to settlements where similar projects occured only later. The goal of the research project – besides measuring impacts for the observation period at hand – is to design an evaluation strategy that can be used to investigate the same question with more up-to-date data later.

In the study, we also estimated whether the EU-funded investments, in general, had any impact on the outcome indicators (the eight indicators: number of live births, tax base, migration to and from the settlement, registered enterprises, number of retail stores, number of restaurants / bars / cafes, registered unemployment) on the settlement level. We did not find any positive impacts – neither in the case of CH investments nor for EU investments in general.

While these investments might not have had any socio-economic effects, there might be other reasons for not seeing any impact. For example, due to the lack of detailed data we could only use indicators that probably react to the investments only with a considerable timelag. Positive effects, thus, might only appear later in time. Some „finer” variables – e.g. nights spent at tourist accomodation – are available, however, we could not include them in our models due to low data quality.

Rigorous analysis of similar investments would be much easier if we could see the attributes of applicants who did not receive funding for their investments and if the eligibility criteria and the scores received for the applications would be publicly available.