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An Econometric Analysis

 
Author elsslots
Admin
#1 | Posted: 25 Jan 2011 07:09 | Edited by: elsslots 
I came across this: What Determines The World Heritage List? An Econometric Analysis

http://www.crema-research.ch/papers/2011-01.pdf

I haven't been able to read it all myself (busy travelling), but maybe there's something of interest in it.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 25 Jan 2011 12:51 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Can't say I am very impressed. As an Economist/Historian I feel I am allowed to pass on the following (albeit well worn!) jokes about Econometrics/Econometricians

An econometrician left his office after a long day of doing estimations. When arriving at the parking lot, he couldn't find his car because he could not remember the exact place where he left it. After pondering a while, he stopped at an empty lot and started cursing, "they stole my car, those bloody bandits". He called in the police who started taking notes until a friend from the history department passed along. After listening to what had happened he said, "hey, your car is 25 meters over there, didn't you realize?" The econometrician said, "Can't be, this is the mean value of the distribution of my past choices of lots".

Three econometricians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first econometrician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second econometrician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third econometrician didn't fire, but shouted in triumph, "We got it! We got it!"

"An economist is a trained professional paid to guess wrongly. An econometrician is a trained professional paid to use computers to guess wrongly"

"Econometrics is the art of drawing a crooked line from an unproved assumption to a foregone conclusion."

Author Khuft
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 25 Jan 2011 16:10 | Edited by: Khuft 
I had a look at it. Honestly speaking, it does not really add anything new. Most of it is common sense, at least by the standards of this forum - most of the reasons for imbalances identified by the authors have been discussed for ages here.
(On a side note, I happen to own a book written by the main author Bruno Frey on the Economics of Art - so at least we can't blame him of being completely ignorant about the subject).

Their conclusion is "The empirical analysis, which shows that inclusion on the List is systematically correlated with economic and political factors unrelated to what "World Heritage" is claimed to be, suggests that extraneous factors play a significant role."

No, really??

A few less thorough aspects I noticed (though I really just glanced quickly through it):
- when analysing the variable "years of high civilization" of countries and their correlation with number of cultural sites, the authors use a list by O'Brien which has the following 16 "high civilizations": Mesopotamian, Arabian, Phoenician, Persian, Egyptian, Ottoman, Jewish, Greek, Occident, Aegean, Roman, Byzantine, Indian, Chinese, Mongolian, and Japanese. You will notice a certain bias towards Mediterranean civilizations, the complete lack of any American civilizations, the lack of sub-Saharan African civilization - and even the lack of South East Asian civilizations (except if they are subsumed under "Indian" or "Chinese")
- a correlation is highlighted between Democracy and Number of sites on the list. This is attributed to the fact that elected politicians may have a desire to wow their voters by getting a WH accolade and thus get reelected (as you certainly noticed, this has been a major topic in many election campaigns in Europe recently...). It fails to acknowledge that some dictatorial states have actually even more reasons for wowing their masses with such accolades as substitute for granting them freedom, etc. China and Iran come to mind (the latter currently seeming on a World Heritage blitzkrieg, if we look at how fast the Iranian tentative list increased in the last years, and how many sites they managed to inscribe lately).

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 26 Jan 2011 05:01 | Edited by: Solivagant 
3 more academic papers on World Heritage by Frey et al which are available for download from the Web. With the earlier CREMA paper from above, this makes 4 in all between Aug 2009 and Jan 2011 but Academics have to keep up their rate of "paper productivity" no doubt!!. There is a lot of "recycling" of both ideas and text across them - but why waste good ones on a single paper!!

Making World Heritage Truly Global: The Culture Certificate Scheme (Bruno S Frey and Paolo Pamini. CESifo Working Paper No 2745 Category 2: Public Choice August 2009)
http://www.ifo.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-c esifo-2009/wp-cesifo-2009-08/cesifo1_wp2745.pdf

World Heritage: Where Are We? An Empirical Analysis (Bruno S. Frey and Paolo Pamini. CESifo Working paper No 2919 Category 2: Public Choice January 2010)
http://www.ifo.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-c esifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-01/cesifo1_wp2919.pdf

World Heritage List: Does it make sense? (Bruno S Frey and Lasse Steiner. Institute for Empirical Research in Economics University of Zurich Working Paper Series ISSN 1424-0459 Working Paper No. 484 29 April 2010)
www.iew.uzh.ch/wp/iewwp484.pdf

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 An Econometric Analysis

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