Working Paper BETA #2016-26

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Title : Privatization of a tourism event: Do attendees perceive it as a risky cultural lottery?

Author(s) : Giuseppe Attanasi, Hana Cosic, Francesco Passarelli, Giulia Urso

Abstract : Private ownership of a previously public event may be perceived as a risky lottery, with benefits – increase in quality due to more financial resources – and costs – dissipation of its cultural connotation due to commodification. We empirically investigate attendees’ willingness to accept privatization of a cultural event: we conducted a 3-year field study during a massgathering festival in Italy. This event is attended by around 100,000 tourists per year. We find that, while attendees sensitive to the event quality are favorable to its privatization, those being risk-averse show a lower willingness to accept it. The weight of the event in motivating tourists’ travel also matters: cultural tourists are those perceiving the risk of commodification due to the event privatization as higher.

Key-words : Cultural events; festival ownership; cultural tourism; motivated tourist; risk aversion; willingness to pay; instantaneous social capital.

JEL Classification : A13, D81, G32, Z10.