NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The American Invasion of Europe: The Long Term Rise in Overseas Travel, 1820-2000

Brandon Dupont, Alka Gandhi, Thomas J. Weiss

NBER Working Paper No. 13977
Issued in May 2008
NBER Program(s):   DAE

Tourism today is an activity of substantial economic importance worldwide, and has been for some time. Tourism is also of substantial economic importance in the United States, sufficient to warrant the Bureau of Economic Analysis's establishing special accounts on travel and tourism. In this paper we investigate the long term rise in overseas travel by Americans. Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the number of Americans going abroad rose from less than 2,000 travelers to over 26 million. The industry went from one confined to the elite of American society to what some have described as mass tourism. We document this rise by compiling a long term series on overseas travel, and describe the changes in the composition of the travelers, their destinations, and their mode of travel. We use an Error Correction Model to explain how the increase came about.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13977

Published: The long-term rise in overseas travel by Americans, 1820–20001 BRANDON DUPONT1, ALKA GANDHI2, THOMAS WEISS3,‡ Article first published online: 6 JUN 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0289.2011.00610.x © Economic History Society 2011 Issue The Economic History Review The Economic History Review Volume 65, Issue 1, pages 144–167, February 2012

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