Understanding the Immigrant–Trade Link
Chapter 5: Beyond Trade in Goods: Immigrants and US Exports of Tourism Services
Although a large number of studies document a positive influence of immigrants on trade in goods between their home and host countries, little information exists as to whether these pro-trade effects extend to services. Because trade in services (particularly that of tourism) involves exposure of importers to the cultural characteristics and social conventions that define a particular society yet which are often foreign to the individual immigrant, we examine the potential relationship between immigrants and their host countries’ exports of tourism services to their respective home countries. To accomplish this, we use data on US exports of tourism services (that is, the number of tourist arrivals in the US) as our reference/ dependent variable (US OTTI, 2007). There are only a few studies of the effect of immigrants on trade in services. The studies focus on whether and how immigrants might affect the number of tourists arriving in either their host country or their home country. As this relates to the topic we are exploring, we draw inferences from these studies of tourism demand and from the literature related to the influences of immigrants on trade in goods. We consider studies of the demand for tourism since, by providing insights into approaches that could be adopted by policy makers to enhance tourism demand, several tourism researchers have considered immigration as a factor that affects individuals’ decisions in selecting a tourist destination. For example, fueled by the interest of policymakers who seek new and relevant strategies for capturing a larger share...
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