This study provides an assessment of the value of GLAMs using cost-benefit analysis (CBA) within an economic welfare framework. It takes a Total Economic Value (TEV) approach, which measures the economic benefits accruing not just to direct beneficiaries such as GLAMs visitors, but to “non-users”—people who value GLAMs’ existence even if they have not recently visited one.
Combining all value components, we were able to quantify as benefits, the total gross value of GLAMs to Canada is $11.7 billion a year (in 2019 prices). This estimated benefit was derived from annual costs (the operational expenditure needed to run GLAMs) of $3.0 billion. Dividing the $11.7 billion in benefits by the $3.0 billion of costs gives a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 3.9. This means that for every dollar invested in non-profit GLAMs, society gets nearly four dollars in return. GLAMs perform very favourably when compared to other major social investments, such as transportation infrastructure.
It is also useful to highlight the net benefits of GLAMs; some prefer this approach as it indicates how much better off society is in aggregate. We estimate that society gains $8.6 billion from GLAMs’ existence every year.
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