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Valuing Intangible Cultural Heritage in Developing Countries

Godwin Kofi Vondolia (), Albert Mensah Kusi, Sylvana Rudith King and Stale Navrud ()
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Albert Mensah Kusi: Interdisciplinary Doctoral School, University of Warsaw, 00-312 Warsaw, Poland
Sylvana Rudith King: Centre for Settlement Studies, College of Architecture and Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi AK-039-5028, Ghana

Sustainability, 2022, vol. 14, issue 8, 1-20

Abstract: The disappearance of intangible cultural heritages (ICHs) together with associated symbols and meanings in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) undermines 2003 UN Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. To contribute to reversing this trend, the present study estimates the economic value of preserving traditional kente weaving and interpretation of kente symbols by establishing national demonstration centers in Ghana. Contingent valuation (CV) surveys of both the public and kente weavers are used to elicit their preferences for these national centers. As CV surveys of cultural heritage have often been criticized for lacking both policy and payment consequentiality, we have used a specific preservation measure and a non-voluntary payment vehicle to make the decision context realistic and consequential. Households show significant, positive mean willingness-to-pay (WTP) for establishing national centers to preserve both the kente weaving technique and the interpretation of kente symbols. Furthermore, we find no distance decay in WTP for preservation of this ICH; indicating that people have strong preferences for preserving this ICH independent of how far they live from the center of kente weaving activities. This leads to larger aggregated benefits of preservation compared to built cultural heritage and local environmental goods, for example, where strong distance decay occurs in many cases. This makes the net present value of centers for demonstration of kente weaving and interpretation of kente symbols positive and an economically worthwhile investment. The policy implication of these results is that higher investments in preserving ICHs can be justified not only from a cultural heritage perspective, but also from an economic point of view.

Keywords: intangible cultural heritage; contingent valuation; cost–benefit analysis; symbols (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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