Ownership, organization structure and public service provision: the case of museums
This article provides an empirical investigation of the effects of the ownership and organizational structure on the performance of cultural institutions. More specifically, we consider how museums are effective in their function of disseminating culture to audiences and contributing to the local development. By exploiting a unique data set based on the 2011 census of Italian museums, we develop performance indices of accessibility, visitors’ experience, web visibility and promotion of the local cultural context. Using count data models, we regress such measures on the type of organization. We distinguish between governmental museums, public museums whose administration is either outsourced or has financial autonomy and private museums. We control for the most salient characteristics of a museum, competition pressure and some proxies of potential audience. Our evidence shows that private museums, public museums with financial autonomy and outsourced museums outperform public museums run as sub-units of culture departments. This paper contributes to the cultural economics and public policy and administration literature by adding insights into the effect of outsourcing and administrative decentralization in the public cultural sector.
KeywordsPublic sector performance Outsourcing Decentralization Museums
JEL ClassificationL33 Z18 H42
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