The Olympic Effect

48 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2009 Last revised: 4 Aug 2010

See all articles by Andrew Kenan Rose

Andrew Kenan Rose

University of California - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Mark M. Spiegel

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco - Economic Research Department

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2009

Abstract

Economists are skeptical about the economic benefits of hosting "mega-events" such as the Olympic Games or the World Cup, since such activities have considerable cost and seem to yield few tangible benefits. These doubts are rarely shared by policy-makers and the population, who are typically quite enthusiastic about such spectacles. In this paper, we reconcile these positions by examining the economic impact of hosting mega-events like the Olympics; we focus on trade. Using a variety of trade models, we show that hosting a mega-event like the Olympics has a positive impact on national exports. This effect is statistically robust, permanent, and large; trade is around 30% higher for countries that have hosted the Olympics. Interestingly however, we also find that unsuccessful bids to host the Olympics have a similar positive impact on exports. We conclude that the Olympic effect on trade is attributable to the signal a country sends when bidding to host the games, rather than the act of actually holding a mega-event. We develop a political economy model that formalizes this idea, and derives the conditions under which a signal like this is used by countries wishing to liberalize.

Suggested Citation

Rose, Andrew Kenan and Spiegel, Mark M., The Olympic Effect (April 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14854. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1376157

Andrew Kenan Rose (Contact Author)

University of California - Haas School of Business ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-6609 (Phone)
510-642-4700 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/arose

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Mark M. Spiegel

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco - Economic Research Department ( email )

101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
415-974-3184 (Phone)
415-974-2168 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.frbsf.org/economics/economists/mspiegel.html

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