Estimating cultural heritage sites effect on food and accommodations with synthetic controls

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has developed a list of over 1000 cultural and world heritage sites. We seek to estimate a casual impact on food and accommodations industries that two of these sites influence for their surrounding region. This paper is the first to apply a synthetic control framework to two cultural heritage sites; Poverty Point and the San Antonio Missions. Using food and accommodations data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008 to 2020, we find a statistically significant positive effect from the accreditation of Poverty Point on tourism establishments in West Carroll Parish, but no similarly significant effect from the San Antonio Missions.