Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Economics and Finance

Department name when degree awarded


Committee Chair(s)

E. Bruce Godfrey


E. Bruce Godfrey


W. Cris Lewis


Basudab Biswas


This paper investigates the relationship between tourism and well being, or quality-of-life, within eighteen counties in Utah. To evaluate the relationship, comparisons of the counties' differing levels of tourism versus their levels of welfare are necessary. To make these comparisons, three basic steps were followed. First, a social ordering model was derived. The proposed social ordering model was based upon Maslow's theory of the hierarchy of human needs. By utilizing his theory, both economic and noneconomic indicators were identified, and a basis was provided upon which to judge the differing positions of well-being. Factor analysis was applied to this model in order to aggregate the indicators and derive a single quality-of-life index. Second, measurement of tourism was developed. A direct measurement of the level of tourist activity was not available. An indirect indicator of tourism was estimated by taking the proportion of total gross taxable revenue earned by eating and drinking establishments and taxable room sales. The derived indirect variable was more reflective of comparative tourism dependency levels than of the actual level of tourism. Therefore, the variable was renamed tourism dependency. Third, the correlation between quality-of-life and tourism dependency was calculated. A Pearson correlation coefficient test was performed from which initial results suggested a potentially strong negative relationship between the particular qualifiers of well-being used here and tourism. It was apparent that the two variables that could be defined by certain available indicators were not perfect measurements of the proposed variables, but aspects or components of the desired variables. Each reflected certain attributes of the proposed variables, but not the total concept. A possible explanation for the strong inverse relationship between the qualifiers of quality of life and tourism in this study may be each county's potential for economic diversification. Other studies have shown that areas that are dependent upon a single resource may experience higher levels of economic, demographic, and social instability as compared to those areas with a more diverse economic base. These factors, which in this model would lead to lower values for the calculated quality-of-life indicator in those counties, were estimated to be more tourist dependent.



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