IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Beam of Light: Media, Tourism & Economic Development


  • Samuel Nocito
  • Marcello Sartarelli
  • Francesco Sobbrio


Tourism accounts for around one tenth of global GDP. We analyze the impact of entertainment media in drawing tourists to filming locations (media multiplier ) and, in turn, the effect of tourism on local economic development (tourism multiplier ). To assess the media multiplier, we employ a triple-difference empirical strategy exploiting the staggered international release across the EU of Inspector Montalbano, a TV series set in four municipalities of Sicily, a region of Italy. We find that the series release led to a fourfold increase in the number of tourists and boosted tourist expenditure by a factor of 2.5. Furthermore, we provide evidence of positive spillovers in nearby municipalities. To estimate the tourism multiplier, we exploit the interaction between the filming locations and the time-varying share of countries in which the series was aired, to instrument total tourist expenditure at the municipality-time level. Our results show that a 10% increase in total tourist expenditure translates into an increase in municipal income of 4.7%. The paper suggests that both entertainment media and tourism can be powerful tools to boost economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Nocito & Marcello Sartarelli & Francesco Sobbrio, 2021. "A Beam of Light: Media, Tourism & Economic Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 9055, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9055

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paolo Buonanno & Ruben Durante & Giovanni Prarolo & Paolo Vanin, 2015. "Poor Institutions, Rich Mines: Resource Curse in the Origins of the Sicilian Mafia," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(586), pages 175-202, August.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Peter H. Egger & Maximilian von Ehrlich, 2013. "Absorptive Capacity and the Growth and Investment Effects of Regional Transfers: A Regression Discontinuity Design with Heterogeneous Treatment Effects," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-77, November.
    3. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2010. "Persuasion: Empirical Evidence," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 643-669, September.
    4. Olden, Andreas & Møen, Jarle, 2020. "The Triple Difference Estimator," Discussion Papers 2020/1, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    5. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido de Blasio & Andrea Locatelli, 2021. "Does EU regional policy promote local TFP growth? Evidence from the Italian Mezzogiorno," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(2), pages 327-348, April.
    6. Clément de Chaisemartin & Xavier D'Haultfœuille, 2020. "Two-Way Fixed Effects Estimators with Heterogeneous Treatment Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(9), pages 2964-2996, September.
    7. Sebastian Heise & Tommaso Porzio, 2019. "Spatial Wage Gaps in Frictional Labor Markets," Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers 29, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    8. Ben Gardiner & Ron Martin & Peter Sunley & Peter Tyler, 2013. "Spatially unbalanced growth in the British economy," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(6), pages 889-928, November.
    9. Mr. Rabah Arezki & Reda Cherif & John M. Piotrowski, 2009. "Tourism Specialization and Economic Development: Evidence from the UNESCO World Heritage List," IMF Working Papers 2009/176, International Monetary Fund.
    10. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2011. "Robust Inference With Multiway Clustering," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 238-249, April.
    11. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 263-306.
    12. Melissa Dell & Benjamin A Olken, 2020. "The Development Effects of the Extractive Colonial Economy: The Dutch Cultivation System in Java," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 164-203.
    13. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-641, June.
    14. Alberto Abadie & Susan Athey & Guido Imbens & Jeffrey Wooldridge, 2017. "When Should You Adjust Standard Errors for Clustering?," Papers 1710.02926,, revised Oct 2017.
    15. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    16. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz & Hal Varian & Michael D. Smith, 2017. "Super returns to Super Bowl ads?," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 1-28, March.
    17. Francesco David & Giuseppe Saporito, 2018. "The Impact of a New Airport on International Tourism: The Case of Ragusa (Sicily, Italy)," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 327-344.
    18. Anderson, Simon P. & Gabszewicz, Jean J., 2006. "The Media and Advertising: A Tale of Two-Sided Markets," Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, in: V.A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 567-614, Elsevier.
    19. Federico, Giovanni & Nuvolari, Alessandro & Vasta, Michelangelo, 2019. "The Origins of the Italian Regional Divide: Evidence from Real Wages, 1861–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 63-98, March.
    20. Andrew Goodman-Bacon, 2018. "Difference-in-Differences with Variation in Treatment Timing," NBER Working Papers 25018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Brantly Callaway & Pedro H. C. Sant'Anna, 2018. "Difference-in-Differences with Multiple Time Periods," Papers 1803.09015,, revised Dec 2020.
    22. Cristian Bartolucci & Claudia Villosio & Mathis Wagner, 2018. "Who Migrates and Why? Evidence from Italian Administrative Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 551-588.
    23. Andre Veiga & Tommaso Valletti, 2020. "Attention, recall and purchase: Experimental evidence on online news and advertising," Working Papers 20-15, NET Institute.
    24. Heise, Sebastian & Porzio, Tommaso, 2019. "Spatial Wage Gaps in Frictional Labor Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 14197, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    25. Thomas Zylkin, 2019. "Verifying the Existence of Maximum Likelihood Estimates in Generalized Linear Models," 2019 Stata Conference 47, Stata Users Group.
    26. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
    27. A. Colin Cameron & Douglas L. Miller, 2015. "A Practitioner’s Guide to Cluster-Robust Inference," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 317-372.
    28. Yair Eilat & Liran Einav, 2004. "Determinants of international tourism: a three-dimensional panel data analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(12), pages 1315-1327.
    29. Tiago Neves Sequeira & Paulo Macas Nunes, 2008. "Does tourism influence economic growth? A dynamic panel data approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(18), pages 2431-2441.
    30. Sergio Correia & Paulo Guimar~aes & Thomas Zylkin, 2019. "Verifying the existence of maximum likelihood estimates for generalized linear models," Papers 1903.01633,, revised Jun 2021.
    31. Conrad Miller, 2017. "The Persistent Effect of Temporary Affirmative Action," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 152-190, July.
    32. Marit Hinnosaar & Toomas Hinnosaar & Michael Kummer & Olga Slivko, 2017. "Wikipedia Matters," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 508, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Peter Z. Schochet, 2021. "Statistical Power for Estimating Treatment Effects Using Difference-in-Differences and Comparative Interrupted Time Series Designs with Variation in Treatment Timing," Papers 2102.06770,
    2. Bruno Ferman, 2019. "Inference in Differences-in-Differences: How Much Should We Trust in Independent Clusters?," Papers 1909.01782,, revised Sep 2020.
    3. Tamara Bischof & Boris Kaiser, 2021. "Who cares when you close down? The effects of primary care practice closures on patients," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(9), pages 2004-2025, September.
    4. Michael Pollmann, 2020. "Causal Inference for Spatial Treatments," Papers 2011.00373,
    5. Singh, Tejendra Pratap & Visaria, Sujata, 2021. "Up in the Air: Air Pollution and Crime – Evidence from India," SocArXiv hs4xj, Center for Open Science.
    6. Martin Huber, 2019. "An introduction to flexible methods for policy evaluation," Papers 1910.00641,
    7. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo, 2020. "Bitter Sugar: Slavery and the Black Family," GLO Discussion Paper Series 564, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    8. Bruno Ferman, 2020. "Inference in Differences-in-Differences with Few Treated Units and Spatial Correlation," Papers 2006.16997,, revised May 2021.
    9. Lochmann, Alexia & Rapoport, Hillel & Speciale, Biagio, 2019. "The effect of language training on immigrants’ economic integration: Empirical evidence from France," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 265-296.
    10. Sparber, Chad, 2019. "Substitution between groups of highly-educated, foreign-born, H-1B workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    11. Rodríguez-González, Ana, 2021. "The Impact of the Female Advantage in Education on the Marriage Market," Working Papers 2021:5, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    12. Benjamin Faber & Cecile Gaubert, 2016. "Tourism and Economic Development: Evidence from Mexico's Coastline," NBER Working Papers 22300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico, 2020. "Bitter Sugar: Slavery and the Black Family," Department of Economics 0172, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    14. Rösner, Anja & Haucap, Justus & Heimeshoff, Ulrich, 2020. "The impact of consumer protection in the digital age: Evidence from the European Union," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    15. Avner Seror & Rohit Ticku, 2021. "Legalized Same-Sex Marriage and Coming Out in America: Evidence from Catholic Seminaries," Working Papers 21-07, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    16. Isphording, Ingo E. & Lipfert, Marc & Pestel, Nico, 2020. "School Re-Openings after Summer Breaks in Germany Did Not Increase SARS-CoV-2 Cases," IZA Discussion Papers 13790, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Schmidheiny, Kurt & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2020. "On event studies and distributed-lags in two-way fixed effects models: Identification, equivalence, and generalization," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-017, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    18. Christine Benesch & Rino L. Heim & Mark Schelker & Lukas D. Schmid, 2021. "Voting Advice Applications and Elections," CESifo Working Paper Series 8868, CESifo.
    19. Jin, Zhangfeng, 2020. "Welfare Magnets and Internal Migration in China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 498, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    20. Juan Camilo Castillo & Daniel Mejía & Pascual Restrepo, 2020. "Scarcity without Leviathan: The Violent Effects of Cocaine Supply Shortages in the Mexican Drug War," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 269-286, May.

    More about this item


    media; tourism; economic development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Z32 - Other Special Topics - - Tourism Economics - - - Tourism and Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9055. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.