They arrive with new information. Tourism flows and production efficiency in the European regions
It is well known that firms productivity is influenced by information spillovers generated either by other firms located nearby or by direct contacts with final demand or by foreign demand in the case of traded products. In this paper we investigate a new channel of efficiency - enhancing information spillovers - tourism flows. The idea is that tourists, in general, have preferences for high quality goods and differentiated products which are revealed when they buy local products in the tourism destinations, thus transmitting relevant information to the local firms. The latter, in turn, exploit this new information generating a positive impact on the efficiency level of the local economy. More specifically we examine the effects of tourist flows on regional total factor productivity, within a spatial dynamic model, controlling also for other intangible factors (such as human, social and technological capital) and for the degree of accessibility. We apply the analysis to 199 European regions belonging to the EU15 member countries, plus Switzerland and Norway. The econometric results show the positive impact of tourism flows on regional efficiency levels together with the positive role played by intangible assets, infrastructures and spatial spillovers.
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