Tourism and the treadmill of production: a cross-national analysis

Academic Article


  • This paper uses Schnaiberg’s theory of the treadmill of production (TOP) to analyze the relationship between foreign direct investment (FDI) and environmental degradation caused by Caribbean tourism. Tourism is estimated to be one of the world’s most rapidly growing economic sectors. While tourism can increase economic activity, problems arise when destinations that draw tourists in through their environmental appeal confront the industry’s ecologically destructive aspects. This paper uses fixed effects panel data methods to examine the relationship between FDI (theorized as the ‘engine’ of the tourism treadmill) and environmental damage caused by tourism. We hypothesize that higher levels of inbound FDI stocks are correlated with increased levels of environmental degradation, as measured by three variables, hotel rooms per square kilometer, primary energy consumption per capita and carbon dioxide emissions per capita. Results from all three models suggest that a relationship exists between the environmental variables and FDI, lending support to the application of TOP theory to the tourism industry.
  • Authors

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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Griffin LN; Pavela G; Arroyo J
  • Start Page

  • 127
  • End Page

  • 138
  • Volume

  • 1
  • Issue

  • 2