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The relationships of social capital to downtown and retailer performance: do tourist towns differ from nontourist towns?

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Tourism Analysis
Issue number5
Volume16
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)557-570
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

“A hundred friends are worth more than a hundred rubles“ (Russian proverb). This research focuses on small retail businesses in nonurban, downtown areas of tourist destinations. These retailers, as well as the downtown in which they are located, have access to two intangible resources: local (social) capital between retailers and consumers and social network ties among retailers. Social capital and social network theory provide a theoretical foundation. The research first assesses the direct effects of these two independent constructs on downtown versus small retailer performance. Second, the authors argue that downtown performance impacts small retailer performance, making downtown performance a partial mediator. The impact of local capital and social ties on small retailer performance is thus hypothesized to be both direct and indirect, through downtown performance; this enables effects decomposition. Third, the authors explore whether the hypothesized relationships hold equally in tourist versus nontourist towns: are the strengths of the betas (i.e., the slopes) the same, given that tourist towns are more likely to be marketed? the results show that social ties impact downtown performance, which in turn impacts firm performance, but the strengths of paths are not the same across tourist versus nontourist towns. Implications for tourism professionals are offered.