Economists have paid an increasing attention to the estimation of efficiency in the public sector. Archives constitute an exception notwithstanding their cultural and historical relevance. This paper is, to the best of our knowledge, the first attempt to fill this lacuna. The analysis of the performance of archives raises theoretical issues because their outputs have characteristics of a pure public good (preservation) and of a private service (utilisation). Moreover, the trade-off between the long and short-run goals of, respectively, preservation and utilisation is central in most public policies concerning heritage. We address this issue by studying the efficiency of public historical archives (PHAs) in Italy, over the period 2011–2012. We use Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and implement one-stage and two-stage approaches to investigate PHAs’ performance in the management of their different and potentially conflicting functions. Our analysis shows that PHAs perform better in the preservation function, considering the objectives and constraints they face.

An assessment of the performance of Italian public historical archives: Preservation vs utilisation

Pignataro G.;
2020-01-01

Abstract

Economists have paid an increasing attention to the estimation of efficiency in the public sector. Archives constitute an exception notwithstanding their cultural and historical relevance. This paper is, to the best of our knowledge, the first attempt to fill this lacuna. The analysis of the performance of archives raises theoretical issues because their outputs have characteristics of a pure public good (preservation) and of a private service (utilisation). Moreover, the trade-off between the long and short-run goals of, respectively, preservation and utilisation is central in most public policies concerning heritage. We address this issue by studying the efficiency of public historical archives (PHAs) in Italy, over the period 2011–2012. We use Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and implement one-stage and two-stage approaches to investigate PHAs’ performance in the management of their different and potentially conflicting functions. Our analysis shows that PHAs perform better in the preservation function, considering the objectives and constraints they face.
Archives; Cultural heritage; Efficiency; Network DEA; Non-parametric frontier; Nondiscretionary and intermediate measure
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1132681
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