Wednesday, August 13, 2008

About that economic impact... 

Shocking news in a front page article in today's Washington Post: There aren't many tourists in Beijing this month.

"Business is worse than at this time last year," said a receptionist at a 22-room hotel in Beijing's Chongwen district, where rooms cost $28 a night. "It's the season for traveling and last year the hotel was full. The Olympics should have brought business to Beijing, but the reality is too far from the expectation."

In addition, despite "selling every ticket" the venues aren't full, and the organizers are scratching their heads. When I point out that things like this happen, people call me an idiot. When Victor Matheson publishes a paper that shows no economic impact from mega sports events, non-economists say he is clearly wrong, because millions of tickets are sold to these events, and that must generate economic impact. This outcome is consistent with a lot of empirical evidence from Sydney and Athens that suggests little tangible direct economic impact was generated by those games.

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