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Evaluating three decades of the European Capital of Culture programme: a difference-in-differences approach

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We measure the regional impact of the European Capital of Culture programme using a difference-in-differences approach. We compare the regions of cities that hosted the event with the regions of cities that tried to host it but did not succeed. GDP per capita in hosting regions is 4.5 % higher compared to non-hosting regions during the event, and the effect persists more than 5 years after it. This result suggests that the economic dimension of the event is important and supports claims that the event serves as catalyst for urban regeneration and development.

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  1. Acording to Steiner et al. (2015), the budgets ranged from 5.5 million euros in Reykjavik to 59 million euros in Lille.

  2. These are one or two cities per event that we could identify as being close runners-up. These are in bold in Table 3. In some cases, one or two cities went on to the preselection phase in the later years, when a two-phase selection process was stablished. In other cases, there was only one or two cities competing with the winner.


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Correspondence to Pedro Gomes.

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We would like to give particular thanks to Nuria Lombana, Sylvain Pasqua, Jeanne Alart, Rodolfo Maslias, Samuel Bentolila, Patricia Melo, Jan Stuhler, Iliana Reggio, seminar participants at the Universidad Carlos III and an anonymous referee.



See Tables 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Table 3 Summary of winner and other candidate cities
Table 4 Data description.
Table 5 Impact of hosting the European Capital of Culture on other variables
Table 6 Impact of hosting the European Capital of Culture on GDP per capita, restricted sample

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Gomes, P., Librero-Cano, A. Evaluating three decades of the European Capital of Culture programme: a difference-in-differences approach. J Cult Econ 42, 57–73 (2018).

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