Investigating informal learning at a cultural site

TitleInvestigating informal learning at a cultural site
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBrida, JG, Meleddu, M, Pulina, M, Statzu, V
JournalEconomic Bulletin

Based on a microeconomic theory framework, this paper explores in what extent the visit to a museum influences visitors' informal learning. Empirically, a Heckman selection model has been employed that allows one to draw causal inferences in the observational setting. Survey data were collected at the South Tyrol's Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano (Italy) in 2011. More than half of the sample declared they had the opportunity to learn. The empirical specification reveals that pull factors have a positive effect on the propensity to learn new things. However, completing a previous visit does not increase the probability to learn more; the propensity to learn is also reduced when experiencing a negative feeling such as boredom and a sense of wasting time. These findings provide a useful policy tool to plan educational activities in the museum contributing to improve visitors' human capital.

KeywordsHeckman selection model, human capital, Informal learning, museum