The present paper provides empirical evidence of the main determinants affecting World Heritage listing across countries and time. While World Heritage represents the most relevant tangible cultural asset for the humankind, little research has been conducted to understand the conditions influencing the process of sites inscription. Using panel data, we provide a preliminary investigation about the relationship between world heritage sites per country and economic, social and institutional variables. In addition, we test whether additional political factors, such as the country involvement in the World Heritage Committee, influence inscription of national heritage sites in the list. The paper contributes to the cultural economics literature by addressing new insights on the determinants affecting the valorization of cultural heritage.