Surfing a Wave of Economic Growth
60 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017
Date Written: March 2017
We investigate whether the geographic determinants of growth extend to natural amenities. We combine data on spatial and temporal variation in the quality of over 5000 surf breaks globally with data on local economic performance, proxied by night-time lights. We document a strong association between natural amenity quality and local economic development. Economic activity grows faster near good surf breaks; following the discovery of new breaks, or the technology needed to ride them; and during El Niño events that generate high-quality waves. The effects are concentrated in nearby towns and emerging economies, and population changes are consistent with tourism.
Keywords: Natural Amenities, Economic Growth, New Economic Geography, Natural Advantages, Tourism, Surfing, Night-Time Lights
JEL Classification: O13, O44, O47, Q26, Q51, Q56, R11, R12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation