Valuation Study

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Value of Cultural Heritage in Temples

Attributes

Medium: Health and/or Human Capital

Country: Thailand

Analytical Framework(s): Contingent Valuation, Other

Unit(s): Mean WTP

Study Date: 2004

Publication Date: 2005

Major Result(s)

Category Resource/Environmental Good THB, per person
(2004)
THB, per person
(2014)1
USD, per person
(2014)2
CV - Parametric Mean WTP to preserve 2 historic temples (income tax)3 70.00 91.25 2.77
CV - Parametric Mean WTP to preserve 2 historic temples (donation) 99.00 129.05 3.92
CV - Parametric Mean WTP to preserve 10 historic temples (income tax) 214.00 278.96 8.48
CV - Parametric Mean WTP to preserve 10 historic temples (donation) 243.00 316.77 9.62
CV - Non-Parametric Mean WTP to preserve 2 historic temples (income tax) 278.00 362.39 11.01
CV - Non-Parametric Mean WTP to preserve 2 historic temples (donation) 206.00 268.54 8.16
CV - Non-Parametric Mean WTP to preserve 10 historic temples (income tax) 362.00 471.89 14.34
CV - Non-Parametric Mean WTP to preserve 10 historic temples (donation) 290.00 378.04 11.49
CE Mean WTP for a preservation program for temples of architectural importance4 174.00 226.82 6.89
CE Mean WTP for a preservation program for temples of historical importance 110.00 143.39 4.36

About the Inflation Adjustment: Prices in Thailand (THB) changed by 30.36% from 2004 to 2014 (aggregated from annual CPI data), so the study values were multiplied by 1.30 to express them in 2014 prices. The study values could be expressed in any desired year (for example, to 2022) by following the same inflation calculation and being sensitive to directional (forward/backward) aggregations using your own CPI/inflation data.

Study Note: This study looks at how conservation of Thailand's ancient temple heritage might be financed. Using information from contingent valuation and choice modeling exercises involving 500 households in Bangkok, it assesses how much Thais would be willing to pay for a conservation program to safeguard ten at-risk temple sites. It also looks at the main elements of such a temple conservation program to see which are most highly prized.

Study Details

Reference: Udomsak Seenprachawong. 2005. Economic Valuation of Cultural Heritage: A Case Study of Historic Temples in Thailand. EEPSEA Research Report, No. 2005-RR12.

Summary: The main purpose of this study was to elicit the value of restoring the historic temples in the central region of Thailand. A contingent valuation (CV) survey was carried out in January 2005. This valuation exercise is of interest for two reasons. Firstly, historic temples in the central region of Thailand are considered to be valuable cultural heritage in Thailand. The values of these historic temples can reasonably serve as a benchmark against which temples in other regions can be valued, especially since this is the very first contingent valuation study on cultural heritage in Thailand. Secondly, by its design, this study provides information on the methodological aspects of the CV method. This research explored the question of whether respondents are able to identify their values for two temples versus their values for ten temples. It was found that respondents did pass this scope test. A test on statistical significance confirmed a highly significant difference, indicating that respondents will pay more for a greater number of temples. Another methodological issue dealt with in this study was whether it matters if the proposed payment is collected in the form of income tax or in the form of a donation to a fund designed to restore historic temples. A test on statistical significance showed that there was negligible difference between the two, indicating that it does not matter if the payment vehicle is in the form of income tax or a donation. It was found that an individual is willing to pay 214 Baht1 in a one-time income tax surcharge or 243 Baht as a voluntary donation to finance the preservation program of ten historic temples. Moreover, the results of the choice experiment showed that Thai people prefer a preservation program for temples of architectural and historical importance.

Site Characteristics: Initially, this researcher considered the different symbols/aspects of cultural heritage in central Thailand that ought to be preserved, such as temples, historic wooden houses, and the traditional way of life. It was necessary, however, to narrow the focus of this study to one category of cultural heritage. It was decided that temples would be a better choice for research than historic wooden houses because they are less complicated in their functions and are also seen as a resource with more potential and value to the general public. Historic temples in the central region are considered to be the finest examples of ancient cultural structures in Thailand. This study selected ten historic temples at risk of deterioration as the good to be valued.

Comments: Exposed to the outdoor environment, historic temples are subject to some degree of weathering damage. Serious deterioration is bad since there is a loss of aesthetic beauty and the degradation indicates a lack of appreciation or respect for the place of worship. This issue was explored in this study by asking respondents about their willingness to pay for the restoration of historic temples at risk. Owing to the historical importance of the temples, the Division of Natural and Cultural Heritage, under the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONREPP) requires this information to assess the non-market benefits of preserving these temples, especially those in the Samut Songkram Province. Without a reliable measure of willingness to pay, it is likely that financial support for a particular activity may be under-provided by the government, thus leading to a loss of welfare to society.

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