Ex-ante versus ex-post: comparison of the effects of the European Capital of Culture Maribor 2012 on tourism and employment


The estimation of the economic effects of cultural events is a topic that has stirred numerous debates in cultural economics. Although economic impact studies and contingent valuation have been the most frequently used methods, both suffer from numerous problems. In this article, we use ex-post econometric verification as a new and promising method in cultural economics in the estimation of the economic effects of cultural events and apply it to the estimation of the effects of the 2012 European Capital of Culture Maribor on tourism and employment. This enables us to compare results from economic impact and ex-post econometric verification studies to find significant differences in particular in terms of new employment. We determine the net effects on new tourism and find that they were mainly present in Maribor, the holder of the project, and not in the other five partner cities. We conclude by reflecting on the state of the art of the studies of economic effects of cultural events in cultural economics and their relevance for the study of cultural tourism.

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Fig. 1

Source: Own elaboration


  1. 1.

    The choice of the variables was driven by the available data at the municipal level. The source of all data was Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SORS), database SI-STAT.

  2. 2.

    With extensions when using different estimators: lags for the System GMM, noninteracted time and treatment variables for the difference-in-differences method.

  3. 3.

    As a rule, ex-ante studies contain or should contain less information than ex-post studies (Gergaud and Ginsburgh 2013). The difference between ex-ante and ex-post does therefore not lie only in the timing of the analysis.

  4. 4.

    In input–output analysis and economic impact analysis, sometimes the concept of “capture rate” is discussed (Stynes 1996, 1999; Crompton et al. 2015; Brewer and Freeman 2015), denoting “the portion of spending that accrues to the region as final demand.” Only the spending that is “captured” by the local economy should be multiplied by a sales multiplier (Stynes 1996). In our analysis we do not address this issue specifically, although the tables entering the calculation of multipliers are only the domestic production symmetric input–output tables. Previous analyses done for Slovenia (e.g., Zakotnik 2009) do not address this issue, but it would be useful in future to address it properly. It is logical to say that the capture rates will to a certain extent lower the predicted amounts from the multiplier analysis.

  5. 5.

    The results of the final estimates were derived from the numbers on average spending, aggregated to the full population of the visitors and divided by the number of events and, finally, multiplied by the production (and, respectively, value added and employment) multiplier for culture, calculated from two different sets of input–output multiplier estimates for years 2005 (the first, lower estimate for each category) and 2010 (the second, higher estimate for each category). To this number, the similarly calculated effects of the spending of the project were added: the value of the budget of the project was multiplied by respective multiplier for this area (source: Kovač and Srakar 2013).

  6. 6.

    Including dummies for municipalities instead of regions does not change the results in any sense.

  7. 7.

    We mainly used models with 1 or 2 period lags. The best models were chosen on the basis of information criteria (AIC and BIC) and other relevant statistics of the models.


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Correspondence to Andrej Srakar.

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See Table 6.

Table 6 Descriptive statistics for the economic impact study, final sample.

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Srakar, A., Vecco, M. Ex-ante versus ex-post: comparison of the effects of the European Capital of Culture Maribor 2012 on tourism and employment. J Cult Econ 41, 197–214 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10824-017-9294-0

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  • Economic effects
  • Cultural tourism
  • Economic impact studies
  • Ex-post econometric verification
  • European Capital of Culture Maribor 2012
  • Employment

JEL Classification

  • Z11
  • C33
  • D57
  • Z30
  • Z31
  • Z32