IMF Survey: Putting a Spotlight on Sports and Economics

March 26, 2010

South Africa is preparing to host the soccer World Cup in June while memories of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games melt away in Vancouver. Finance & Development magazine took the opportunity in its latest issue to look at the intersection of sports and economics.

Putting a Spotlight on Sports and Economics

Hosting the Games: prize or penalty? (photo: Corbis)

A Sporting Chance

Countries invest huge amounts of money when bidding for the privilege of hosting major sports events. The glory of being in the global spotlight for a week or two is irresistible.

But this isn’t always a rational decision. Plans to rejuvenate a city can turn into regrets complete with white elephants in the form of unused stadiums. Other countries benefit from these events without the financial and administrative burden of hosting. And just bidding can be enough to let the rest of the world you’re ready to step onto the international stage.

Prize or Penalty
Jeremy Clift

Sports events like the soccer World Cup stimulate trade around the world and spotlight the host country.

Is It Worth It?
Andrew Zimbalist

Hosting the Olympic Games and other mega sporting events is an honor many countries aspire to—but why?

The Olympic Trade Effect
Andrew K. Rose and Mark M. Spiegel

Countries that bid for the Olympics are sending a signal that they are ready to open up trade.

A Lucky Start
Shekhar Aiyar and Rodney Ramcharan

If life is like cricket, then the luck of a good first job matters a lot in a successful career.

Book Review:


Heiko Hesse, former pro soccer player, reviews this book by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski on “the world’s most popular sport.”

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