Imbalance of World Heritage List: Did the UNESCO Strategy Work?

University of Zurich, Economics Working Paper No. 14

30 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2011

See all articles by Lasse Steiner

Lasse Steiner

University of Zurich

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Date Written: March 1, 2011


The official intention of the UNESCO World Heritage List is to protect the global heritage. However, the imbalance of the distribution of Sites according to countries and continents is striking. Consequently, the World Heritage Committee launched the Global Strategy for a Balanced, Representative and Credible World Heritage List in 1994. To date, there have not been any empirical analyses conducted to study the impact of this strategy. This paper shows that the imbalance did not decrease and perhaps increased over time, thus reflecting the inability of the Global Strategy to achieve a more balanced distribution of Sites.

Keywords: UNESCO, international organizations, international political economy, global public goods, world heritage

JEL Classification: Z11, D6, F5, H87

Suggested Citation

Steiner, Lasse and Frey, Bruno S., Imbalance of World Heritage List: Did the UNESCO Strategy Work? (March 1, 2011). University of Zurich, Economics Working Paper No. 14. Available at SSRN: or

Lasse Steiner (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA ( email )

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

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

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