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Tourism and Development: A recent phenomenon built on old (institutional) roots?


  • Francesco Pigliaru


  • Adriana Di Liberto


  • Rinaldo Brau


Is tourism an opportunity for lagging countries in the elusive quest for growth (Easterly, 2002)? Recent empirical evidence suggests that the answer is a cautious yes. Aggregate cross-country data show that tourism specialization is likely to be associated with higher per capita GDP growth rates than those observed in industrialized countries. However, this evidence ignores the importance of institutional quality and results are likely to be biased by omitted variable problems. In this paper we frame our starting question within the general debate about the importance of good/bad institutions as fundamental determinants of economic growth (Acemoglu et al., 2001) and ask whether previous positive results of tourism on growth are in fact driven by the presence of growth enhancing institutions. Our empirical analysis exploits newly available datasets and controls the robustness of previous results on growth and tourism in the presence of several institutional quality variables. By means of descriptive statistics and some simple cross-country regressions we confirm that the quality of institutions is important for growth. Yet our results strongly suggest that the weight of tourism in an economy is an independent and robust predictor of higher-than-average growth.

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  • Francesco Pigliaru & Adriana Di Liberto & Rinaldo Brau, 2011. "Tourism and Development: A recent phenomenon built on old (institutional) roots?," ERSA conference papers ersa10p990, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p990

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feenstra, Robert C., 1996. "Trade and uneven growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 229-256, April.
    2. Harvey W. Armstrong & Robert Read, 1998. "Trade and Growth in Small States: The Impact of Global Trade Liberalisation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 563-585, June.
    3. Durlauf, Steven N. & Johnson, Paul A. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2005. "Growth Econometrics," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 555-677 Elsevier.
    4. Easterly, William & Kraay, Aart, 2000. "Small States, Small Problems? Income, Growth, and Volatility in Small States," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 2013-2027, November.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Capital Deepening and Nonbalanced Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 467-498, June.
    6. Maarten Bosker & Harry Garretsen, 2009. "Economic development and the geography of institutions," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 295-328, May.
    7. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
    8. F. Cerina, 2006. "Tourism specialization and environmental sustainability in a dynamic economy," Working Paper CRENoS 200602, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    9. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    10. William Easterly, 2002. "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550423, July.
    11. R. Brau & A. Lanza & F. Pigliaru, 2006. "How fast are small tourist countries growing? The 1980-2003 evidence," Working Paper CRENoS 200614, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    12. Brau, Rinaldo & Lanza, Alessandro & Pigliaru, Francesco, 2007. "How Fast are Small Tourism Countries Growing? Evidence from the Data for 1980–2003," MPRA Paper 82776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Alessandro Lanza & Anil Markandya & Francesco Pigliaru (ed.), 2005. "The Economics of Tourism and Sustainable Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3876.
    14. Briguglio, Lino, 1995. "Small island developing states and their economic vulnerabilities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(9), pages 1615-1632, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Iza Lejárraga & Peter Walkenhorst, 2013. "Economic policy, tourism trade and productive diversification," International Economics, CEPII research center, issue 135-136, pages 1-12.
    2. Angelo Bencivenga & Margaretha Breil & Mariaester Cassinelli & Livio Chiarullo & Annalisa Percoco, 2012. "The Possibilities for the Development of Tourism in the Appennino Lucano Val d'Agri Lagonegrese National Park: A Participative Qualitative-Quantitative Approach," Working Papers 2012.30, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    3. repec:agr:journl:v:xxiv:y:2017:i:2(611):p:75-98 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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