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Measuring the value of culture: A report to the Department for Culture Media and Sport – Dave O’Brien (2010)


Author(s): Dave O’Brien
Organisation/Affiliation: DCMS/AHRC/ESRC
Date: 15/12/2010
Source: Government/Academic

Report, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, that investigates the problems of  negotiating economic and cultural understandings of value.

The report explores the debates around cultural value, considering the meaning of culture and the reasons why valuation of culture is such a difficult task. The report considers several solutions to the problem of how to value culture, giving an overview of techniques from environmental and health economics, arts and humanities research and recent studies on subjective wellbeing. Overall the report concludes that, in the context of HM Treasury’s Green Book, the economic valuation techniques supported by the Green Book should be used by the cultural sector when articulating its value to central government.

Specific recommendations:
1. DCMS, in consultation with the cultural sector, should create clear guidance on how to use the economic valuation (rather than economic impact) techniques already deployed across central government and recommended by HM Treasury.
2. DCMS should develop closer links with academics working in the area of cultural economics, to use existing and future studies as best practice guidance on the use of economic valuation for the cultural sector.

DCMS should use existing work in this area to explore the possibility of developing a multi-criteria analysis for cultural decisions, of the type recommended in DCLG’s Multi-criteria Analysis: a manual

Click here to read the full report.

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