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The tourist industry and its contribution to sustainable development: Social networks and social capital in the employment of immigrants

Our project focuses on the tourism industry and its contribution to social sustainability through the integration of immigrants into the labor force. We use theories of social capital to understand how, where, and why the Swedish tourism industry has been especially successful in integration and probe the long-term labor market outcomes for migrants in the sector. This requires an understanding of the relational side of labor market entry and the contextual - social, geographical, institutional - factors that serve to differentiate outcomes across individuals, groups, and locations. Our study is multimethod, using deductive methods on register data to examine the effects of social capital resources for migrants¹ labor market integration in tourism and the socioeconomic sustainability of tourism jobs, and inductive qualitative methods allowing for a more detailed understanding of how social capital is created and utilized. As the accommodations and food sector currently employs by far the most immigrants, this study contributes to sustainable development as defined by the Agenda 2030 goals as well as a better understanding of sustainability in the tourism industry. The results will also have broader policy implications that can be leveraged to other industries with similar characteristics. Indeed, a better understanding of the creation and workings of social capital among immigrants can potentially be a fruitful avenue to impact one of our time¹s largest challenges.

Funded 18 MSEK by FORMAS, 2018-2022

Project leader Associate Professor Lin Lerpold ­ with researchers Örjan Sjöberg, Karl Wennberg (LIU), Max Jerneck, Sarah Valdez (LIU) and Aliaksei Kazlou (LIU).

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