Munich Personal RePEc Archive

How free admittance affects charged visits to museums: An analysis of the Italian case

Cellini, Roberto and Cuccia, Tiziana (2017): How free admittance affects charged visits to museums: An analysis of the Italian case.

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Abstract

This paper aims to evaluate whether and how the free admittance to museums and monuments affects the charged visits. We take the Italian state museums and monuments as the case study, and we consider monthly data, aggregate at the national level, from January 1996 to December 2015. Within a multivariate analysis approach, which takes into account the seasonal structure of time series, we document a positive influence of the number of free visitors upon the subsequent number of paying visitors. We also analyse the effect of the change in free admission policy, which has recently occurred in Italy: since July 2014 free admission is no longer reserved to specific segments of population, but it has been extended to all visitors on the first Sunday of each month. We show that this new rule has entailed an increase in both free and charged visits. Our present results can be relevant in the current political debate in Italy, in front of new rules concerning free admission to museums. More in general, we provide pieces of evidence that can be informative in the ever-green debate about free attendance to museum and its relations with individual choices and public policies concerning cultural consumption.

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