Taking My Talents to South Beach (And Back)

16 Pages Posted: 12 May 2017

See all articles by Daniel Shoag

Daniel Shoag

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Stan Veuger

American Enterprise Institute

Date Written: May 5, 2017


We study the local economic spillovers generated by LeBron James’ presence on a team in the National Basketball Association. Mr. James, the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft, spent the first seven seasons of his career at the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then moved to the Miami Heat in 2010, only to return to Cleveland in 2014. Long considered one of the NBA’s superstars, he has received the league’s MVP award four times, won three NBA championships, and been a part of two victorious US teams at the Olympics. We trace the impact a star of Mr. James’ caliber can have on economic activity by analyzing the impact his departures and arrivals had on business activity close to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat stadiums. We find that Mr. James has a statistically and economically significant positive effect on both the number of restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments near the stadium where he is based, and on aggregate employment at those establishments. Specifically, his presence increases the number of such establishments within one mile of the stadium by about 13%, and employment by about 23.5%. These effects are very local, in that they decay rapidly as one moves farther from the stadium.

JEL Classification: J2, J44, J61, R1, R5, Z2

Suggested Citation

Shoag, Daniel and Veuger, Stan, Taking My Talents to South Beach (And Back) (May 5, 2017). HKS Working Paper No. RWP17-019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2967558 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2967558

Daniel Shoag (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Stan Veuger

American Enterprise Institute ( email )

1789 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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