Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 21–56 | Cite as

A new perspective on the cultural heritage–development nexus: the role of creativity

  • Silvia CerisolaEmail author
Original Article


The importance of culture, history, religion, and identity in the potential of any territory to develop is now generally accepted. Place and culture are indeed persistently intertwined. Moreover, the potentially positive impact of cultural heritage on economic development has gained more and more attention throughout different disciplines. Such impact, however, is often just assumed or thought to occur exclusively through cultural tourism, which is in fact both conceptually and empirically able to explain only partially such relationship. This paper enters this debate by elaborating conceptually and empirically on the idea that creativity—possibly expressed according to different patterns—can play a mediating role, explaining the local capability to exploit cultural heritage for economic purposes. In order to empirically address this issue, the Italian provinces (NUTS3 level) are exploited as the units of analysis and the whole process (from cultural heritage to development through creativity) is econometrically tested by a structural equation model.


Cultural heritage Creativity Inspiration Synergy Economic development 

JEL Classification



Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Architecture Built Environment and Construction Engineering (ABC) DepartmentPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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