Political economy of tourism: Trust in government actors, political support, and their determinants

Robin Nunkoo, Stephen L.J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Citations (Scopus)


This study developed a comprehensive model of residents' trust in government actors and political support for tourism based on social exchange theory, institutional theory of political trust, and cultural theory of political trust. The model was tested on a sample of 391 residents of Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada, using confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. Findings suggested that residents' perceptions of the benefits and costs of tourism and their trust in government actors were significant determinants of political support. Their perceptions of the political and economic performance of government actors significantly predicted trust in government actors. Interpersonal trust, perceived costs of tourism, and perceived power in tourism decision-making were insignificant determinants of trust. The study found partial support for social exchange theory. Cultural theory of political trust was not found to be relevant, while strong support was found for institutional theory of political trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-132
Number of pages13
JournalTourism Management
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Cultural theory of political trust
  • Institutional theory of political trust
  • Political economy
  • Political support
  • Social exchange theory
  • Trust in government actors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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