The Causal Economic Effects of Olympic Games on Host Regions

WIFO Working Papers 591/2019

48 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2020

See all articles by Matthias Firgo

Matthias Firgo

Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO)

Date Written: December 11, 2019


This paper studies the effects of hosting Olympic Games on the regional economy in the short and long run. For identification, runners-up in the Olympic bidding process are used to construct the counterfactual for Olympic host regions. In the short run, hosting Summer Olympics boosts regional GDP per capita by about 3 to 4 percentage points relative to the national level in the year of the event and the year before. There is also evidence for positive long-run effects, but results on the latter are not statistically robust. In contrast, Winter Olympics do not have a positive impact on host regions. If anything, they lead to a temporal decline in regional GDP per capita in the years around the event.

Keywords: Olympic Games, Mega Events, Public Infrastructure, Regional Development, Causal Effects, Sports Economics

JEL Classification: H54, O18, R11, R53, R58, Z28, Z38

Suggested Citation

Firgo, Matthias, The Causal Economic Effects of Olympic Games on Host Regions (December 11, 2019). WIFO Working Papers 591/2019, Available at SSRN: or

Matthias Firgo (Contact Author)

Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) ( email )

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