Keywords: Public-Private Partnership; Preservation of Cultural Heritage; Non-Profit
In this paper we investigate if and how public-private partnerships (PPPs) can contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage as it is (i.e. without involving adaptive reuse). Because of its intrinsic unprofitability, heritage conservation has historically fallen under the responsibility of central governments. However, central administrations might fall short in providing enough resources to conservation, selecting high skilled personnel and outsourcing projects under uncertainty and contract incompleteness conditions. Can partnerships help in dealing with these three interrelated challenges? To answer this question, we present empirical evidences from the archaeological site of Herculaneum, where heritage conservation has improved dramatically since the launch of a partnership scheme in 2001. Then we compare Herculaneum with the nearby archaeological site of Pompeii. We observe that the main merit of the partnership was not (only) the provision of additional resources, but better human resource management and more effective outsourcing practices.