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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Bread and Circuses: The Local Benefits of Sports and Cultural Businesses

Research Report by John Palmer

John P. Palmer argues the economic benefits of sports or cultural businesses are not significant enough to justify government funding. Indeed, using the multiplier effect (also known as the “simple Keynesian multiplier”) that is often used to support investments in sports and cultural businesses, the author finds the effect to be either small, or in some cases, negative. The author also contends that sport and/or cultural businesses contribute little in the way of job creation.

The author suggests that the “major league city” argument (that such investments improve the quality of life in a city), although difficult to measure, should have an actual impact on the demand and value of real estate. With some notable exceptions (Niagara-on-the-Lake and Stratford, Ontario, which both host major theatre festivals), however, such effects have been minimal. Considering the opportunity costs involved, Palmer contends that advocates of government funding for such businesses should look beyond economics to justify their perspective on this issue.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): John Palmer;
Publisher: C.D. Howe Institute [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2002; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Municipal;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Economic Development
Policy Articles / Economy / Municipal Economy
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities
Policy Articles / Economy
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Economic Development / 2002
Policy Articles / Economy / Municipal Economy / 2002


Keywords / Tags:

Sports; Arts; Cities; Municipalities; funding; Keynes; Festivals; job creation;