Academic journal article Journal of Regional Analysis & Policy

Impact of Intangible Cultural Capital on Regional Economic Development: A Study on Culture-Based Development in Greece

Academic journal article Journal of Regional Analysis & Policy

Impact of Intangible Cultural Capital on Regional Economic Development: A Study on Culture-Based Development in Greece

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1.Introduction

In the conceptualisation of culture, a broadly accepted distinction is that between tangible (material) and intangible (immaterial) culture. However, as far as culture - and its position in Greece - is concerned, the discourse has mostly developed along the nexus of tangible cultural capital1, in particular of cultural heritage utilized for the development of tourism (see, for example, Coccossis and Psycharis, 2008; Konsola and Karachalis, 2010). The intangible local cultural capital effect in Greece remains largely unexplored in that country. This is, however, not the case for many other European countries nor for the USA and even Africa. In fact, intangible local cultural capital has been documented to have a strong relationship with local socio-economic development in many other places worldwide. Therefore, our aim is to address the impact of intangible local cultural capital in Greece.

Studies on the impact of intangible local cultural capital have been numerous and mirror long-lasting explorations (for a substantial overview, see Guiso et al., 2006). Recent empirical investigations on the regional or local level mainly concern trade or finance (FDI). In this context, home bias is a reductionist measurement, originating in the proxy-motivated notion of culture as an input in trade. The related findings touch on both the Balassa-Samuelson effect on types of goods traded (Samuelson, 1994) and the financial investment decisions across countries (see Bowen, 1980; Lucey and Zhang, 2010). In recent decades the role of local culture in knowledge and entrepreneurial clustering has also been put forward (see Giese, 1990; Westeren, 2008a,b; Russ and Jones, 2008). More recently, three main strands in the literature dealing with the impact of intangible cultural capital on local development have emerged as: (i) the, mostly empirical, social capital literature; (ii) the broad diversity literature; and (iii) the game-theoretical literature on aggregate preferences.

The first, and most important, of these three strands deals empirically with the impact of aggregate attitudes on local development and focuses on the attitudes of trust between people. This has evolved into the social capital research in the economic literature on the effect of intangible local cultural capital (see, e.g., Banfield, 1958; Putnam, 1995; Glaeser et al., 2000; Knack and Keefer, 1996; Westlund and Calidoni-Lundberg, 2007; Othman and Zeghal, 2010; Westlund et al., 2013; Choi and Johnson, 2014).

The second main strand of the literature on the impact of intangible local cultural capital stems from the concept of diversity. It adopts a somewhat different viewpoint on the mechanism of the impact of aggregate cultural attitudes and their interaction in a culturally heterogeneous context that has been widely documented, starting with studies on Italy and the USA (Ottaviano and Peri, 2004; Tabellini, 2010) and then on many other places in Europe. Another substrand of the literature on the diversity of aggregate preferences concentrated in a locality is rooted in the work of Jacobs (1961) and was recently revitalized in the work of Florida (2002a,b; 2005)2. Migration has been yet another major sub-strand in the diversity stream with various interpretations, often starting from the difference in intangible cultural attitudes and then bringing the discourse into the tangible field through leisure-class consumption or ethnic goods and services in a locality (Veblen, 1899, 1919; Baumol, 1986; Constant et al., 2012; Bakens et al., 2015).

Finally, theoretical models of the relativity of internal and external preference orders have also been developed (see, for example, Sen, 1993; Hong and Page, 2001). The theoretical attempts to understand the impact of intangible cultural capital - namely preferences - have been rather intensive. This topic was mainly explored in the voting-related game-theoretical literature (Arrow, 1951). …

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