Just in time for the Olympics, Andrew Zimbalist reminds us why the host city shouldn’t be patting itself on the back quite yet.
Of all the hype surrounding the Olympics, some of the biggest tends to be economic. The event is often billed as a boon to business for its host city — a two-week burst of tourism and valuable TV time, as well as a spur for much needed infrastructure investment. But is it true? Do countries really gain from organizing the Olympic Games?
The answer is: It depends, but don’t count on it. There may be a few former hosts that experienced a long-term economic benefit, such as Barcelona, but scholarly research has found that any gains are difficult to identify.