Assessing Tourism Development from Sen’s Capability Approach

Robertico R. Croes, University of Central Florida


The purpose of this study is to assess tourism development in the context of Sen’s capability approach. The study developed a model to investigate the relationship between tourism development and human development while focusing on two countries, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The study applied a cointegration technique based on the Granger representation theorem. Overall, tourism development and human development reveals a tenuous relationship in both cases, reflecting some threshold effect. The importance of tourism growth is merited in the distribution of its benefits and the extent that tourism receipts are allocated to support human development (public health, education, safety, etc.). Rising incomes will not necessarily translate into human development performance, thereby rendering support to Sen’s contention that well-being should not be measured by its instrumental antecedents (such as income) alone. Private incomes through tourism expansion seem to matter most at lower levels of human development.