World Heritage List: Does It Make Sense?

20 Pages Posted: 5 May 2010

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Lasse Steiner

University of Zurich

Date Written: April 29, 2010


The UNESCO World Heritage List contains the 900 most treasured Sites of humanity’s culture and landscapes.

The World Heritage List is beneficial where heritage sites are undetected, disregarded by national decision-makers, not commercially exploitable, and where national financial resources, political control and technical knowledge for conservation are inadequate. Alternatives such as the market and reliance on national conservation list are more beneficial where the cultural and natural sites are already popular, markets work well, and where inclusion in the List does not raise the destruction potential by excessive tourism, and in times of war or by terrorists.

Keywords: Global public good, world heritage, cultural certificates, monuments, UNESCO

JEL Classification: Z11, D6, F5, H87

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Steiner, Lasse, World Heritage List: Does It Make Sense? (April 29, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

Lasse Steiner

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006

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