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Economies of scale in the Australian tourism industry

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  • Hui Shi
  • Russell Smyth

Abstract

The measurement of economies of scale in the tourism industry has not been done to this point, as tourism is not a specific industry according to international statistical standards. Among many industries related to tourism, four sectors (accommodation, transport, retail trade and recreational services) across six states and two territories from 1997 to 2007 are studied as they contribute nearly 70% of tourism output in Australia. By comparing regression results from the Cobb--Douglas (C--D) production function and the translog production function, we find that there is evidence of increasing returns in transport, retail trade and recreational services at the industry level. However, accommodation is characterized by constant returns to scale at the industry level. As accommodation is responsible for the biggest share of tourism output, this suggests that overall the tourism sector is not characterized by increasing returns. We also find that the degrees of returns to scale from the C--D and translog production functions are different and that the imposition of input share also influences the empirical results. Both of these factors stress the importance of model specification to the measurement of economies of scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Hui Shi & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Economies of scale in the Australian tourism industry," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(33), pages 4355-4367, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:44:y:2012:i:33:p:4355-4367 DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2011.589819
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