Informations and abstract
Keywords: Structural Funds; Culture and Creativity; Tourism; Impact Evaluation; Apulia.
During the past ERDF programming periods, Apulia Region experienced significant shifts in its cultural policies: from preservation to enhancement of its cultural heritage; from spot investments to an integrated management of cultural and environmental, material and intangible, assets. This evolution of strategies calls for a parallel evolution of methodologies and tools to assess the impacts of cultural policies. Unfortunately, the state of the art is characterized by the lack of a systematic quantitative evaluation as well as a chronic shortage of data and adequate monitoring and evaluation activities. Furthermore, there is an insufficient use of counterfactuals and proper impact evaluation techniques. This work provides a first counterfactual assessment on the possible causal effects of the above-mentioned shift in Apulian cultural policies. Our results show a significant positive impact of structural investments on touristic attractiveness in the Apulia region. However, this causal relationship is highly non-linear. Such non-linearity is an important feature for policymaking, since it emphasizes the role played by critical thresholds in determining both the efficacy and the efficiency of public expenditure. More generally, these findings restate the need for sound policy evaluation and ex-ante investment design.