There is a (mis)perception that the economic approach relies on soulless, cold and calculating rational actors. This leads many who work in the cultural arena to be suspicious of and sometimes even deny any possibility of economists’ contribution. To many, an economic theory associated with profit-maximizing firms seems ill-suited to describe many artists. And perhaps some suspicion of a discipline rooted in assuming everyone is “rational” is well-founded. Nonetheless, the economic approach still has some useful insights and tools to contribute to the study of cultural value.
What I hope to do instead is to place the technique of contingent valuation in a large context that deals with the question of valuation more broadly.
Although CVM has been widely used for valuing non-market goods its application to the measurement of cultural goods has been limited.
How much are people willing to pay to maintain shipwrecks in their pristine state?
Efforts to cut funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and declining budgets for state arts agencies have raised questions about how much individuals value the arts. This paper applies the contingent valuation method to assess this value, using surveys of random households and of arts patrons in Kentucky.