Today, economists and policymakers see the provision of consumer leisure amenities as a way to attract people and jobs to cities. But past studies have provided only indirect evidence of the importance of leisure amenities for urban growth and development. In this article, Jerry Carlino uses a new data set on the number of leisure tourist visits to metropolitan areas to examine the correlation between leisure consumption opportunities and population and employment growth in metropolitan areas during the 1990s. His study suggests that leisure amenities are important for an area’s growth, even after controlling for other characteristics, such as climate or proximity to a coast.

This article appeared in the Third Quarter 2009 edition of Business Review.

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