Social and Economic Pressures at Odds: Governance in Tourism and Foreign Direct Investment


This paper focuses on two issue–areas that are characterized by relatively high levels of conflict between economic and social pressures, tourism and foreign direct investment (FDI). Tourism has been little studied by political scientists, but as an international economic activity it has tremendous importance for many states, and is often highly politicized. There is also a substantial secondary literature on tourism, mostly written by sociologists, and abundant (if at times unreliable) data. It thus is a good issue to study in this context, asking about the level at which tourism policy is made, and why. FDI has been taken more seriously by political scientists, although there has been surprisingly little written on this topic in the last decade or two. The literature on FDI from the 1970s leaves little doubt that economic and social pressures are often conflictual. We have also seen numerous attempts to shift the level of governance for FDI, and dramatic policy shifts. FDI therefore also promises to provide insights into how governments resolve tension between social and economic pressures for particular patterns of governance.