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How does heritage contribute to inclusive growth?

Brenda Denise Dorpalen (Department of Policy and Evidence, Historic England, London, UK)
Eirini Gallou (University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 14 November 2023




The first objective of this article is to analyse the reasons to pursue inclusive growth, that is economic growth accompanied by a reduction of social inequalities in different dimensions. The second objective of the article is to develop a systematised framework to understand the different channels and enablers by which heritage can contribute to inclusive growth through a review of specialised literature.


The methodology of this article is based on an exhaustive review of existing literature around models of economic development and their ability to decrease social inequalities. It critically reviews theoretical and empirical studies on existing economic approaches and links them with the heritage policy field.


The article finds that countries should pursue inclusive development since it is a fundamental condition for social cohesion, trust and society's overall well-being and because it enables economic growth to be sustainable through time. It also identifies four channels through which heritage can contribute to inclusive development: in its public good dimension, in its capacity to equalise opportunities, in its ability to reduce social, educational and health disparities and in its capacity to decrease spatial income inequalities through regeneration processes.

Research limitations/implications

The framework, that is developed to categorise the different channels and enablers through which heritage could contribute to inclusive growth, is not empirically tested. Further research could approach this by estimating a difference in difference model. However, data limitations could limit this objective in the short-term.


Its originality relies in the development of a conceptual framework that is aimed at shaping heritage policies that target, at the same time, the reduction of inequalities and economic growth.



This study was undertaken while we were working at Historic England. The authors thank Adala Leeson for her support, revision of the manuscript, and helpful discussions.

Since submission of this article, the following author(s) have updated their affiliation(s): Brenda Denise Dorpalen is the Principal Economist at the Economics, Appraisal, and Research Team at the Environment Agency of England and Wales and Eirini Gallou is at the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK.


Dorpalen, B.D. and Gallou, E. (2023), "How does heritage contribute to inclusive growth?", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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