Assorted links

1. Economists agree that stadium subsidies don’t pay for themselves.  I am on board though I worry that not all these studies account for the indirect benefits of having a team in your area to root for.  Go, Gilbert.

2. Markets in everything: Flushable toddler urinals, why make them sit?  Thanks to Carrie Conko for the pointer.

3. Robin Hanson’s recent talk on the economics of robots.  He is speaker number three, skip ahead if you wish.

4. The most expensive cars, $440,000 and up.

5. AARP list: the sexiest people over 50.  But where is Mitsuko Uchida?


I just did a paper for my sports economics class on the public goods value of sports stadiums... One of the studies I encountered was John C. Whitehead and Bruce K. Johnson's "Value of Public Goods from Sports Stadiums: the CVM approach" from Contemporary Economic Policy. I'm sure you could find it on the GMU library website if you don't already read it regularly. Here's a link:


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Playing devils advocate, maybe having a Big League Team makes the inhabitants of a city feel so good that it's worth the higher taxes.

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Unfortunately, it seems like a transfer payment to sports fans from non-sports fans.

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There are a ton of assumptions that go into determination of a sports stadium economics, which makes it hard ot know for sure whether a stadium is worth the expenditure. Stadiums last a long, long time. Things change over time. This also makes stadium economics complicated.

Given some resources are already sunk in stadiums, a community might as well maximize the utilization of the asset (stadium).

Stuff like museums, libraries, music and culture could be beefed up (more resources allocated to them). We risk turning into a Roman-type gladiator culture that enjoys entertainment and games too much
at the expense of other things. We do not spend enough time as a culture on things such as war decisions, public policies, economic growth, emergency management, positive philosophies and ideaologies, etc.

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How are those indirect benefits valued? I can understand the inflood of cash when a team does well and attracts supporters from outside the taxed area, but the value of having a team to root for eludes me.

And on those cars: I'd be more interested in a list of who's buying them.

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I find the appeal of a park, public library or symphony to be more easily grasped that a sports stadium that is a. expensive to get into, regardless of how much tax money goes into it, b. is only open a fraction of the time, compared to the others, and c. exists to put large amounts of money into the pockets of very few (the players and team ownership). $300MM is a lot of public money to put into a narrowly-focused public project.

I don't see many wealthy librarians or park operatives, though I know the very best musicians and conductors can command a good pay packet.

The table here shows that an NFL rookie makes $235k minimum. For baseball players, it's $300K as of 2004.

I don't know if having a team to root for, if I can't afford to go see them play in person, is worth that much. Everyone who loves baseball knows the minor league stadiums are the ones to go to, anyway.

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In my former life as a journalist, I did some writing on the stadium question. In general, I have no doubt that stadiums almost never pay for themselves. It strikes me, however, that the first big league stadium that a city builds may have significant economic returns.
The presence of one stadium, gets your city mentioned in every newspaper in the country at least half the days of the year, it increases civic pride --we're a big-time city now!--and, in a very real sense, it lets your city compete directly with Chicago, New York, LA etc.
My guess: the first big league stadium a city builds has a significant positive economic impact (albeit one that may be near impossible to quantify) and, after that, the marginal economic utility of additional stadiums declines very rapidly.

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