The numbers are staggering: China spent $40 billion to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and Russia spent $50 billion for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Brazil's total expenditures are thought to have been as much as $20 billion for the World Cup this summer and Qatar, which will be the site of the 2022 World Cup, is estimating that it will spend $200 billion.
How did we get here? And is it worth it? Those are among the questions noted sports economist Andrew Zimbalist answers in Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup. Both the Olympics and the World Cup are touted as major economic boons for the countries that host them, and the competition is fierce to win hosting rights. Developing countries especially see the events as a chance to stand in the world's spotlight.
Circus Maximus traces the path of the Olympic Games and the World Cup from noble sporting events to exhibits of excess. It exposes the hollowness of the claims made by their private industry boosters and government supporters, all illustrated through a series of case studies ripping open the experiences of Barcelona, Sochi, Rio, and London. Zimbalist finds no net economic gains for the countries that have played host to the Olympics or the World Cup. While the wealthy may profit, those in the middle and lower income brackets do not, and Zimbalist predicts more outbursts of political anger like that seen in Brazil surrounding the 2014 World Cup.
Andrew Zimbalist is the Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College. He is the author of three Brookings Institition Press titles: Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums (1997); May The Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy (2003); and National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer (2005).
The selection of Rio de Janeiro as the site of the summer 2016 Olympic Games set off jubilant celebrations in Brazil—and created enormous expectations for economic development and the advancement of Brazil as a major player on the world stage. Although the games were held without major incident, the economic, environmental, political, and social outcomes for Brazil ranged from disappointing to devastating. Corruption scandals trimmed the fat profits that many local real estate developers had envisioned, and the local government was driven into bankruptcy. At the other end of the economic spectrum, some 77,000 residents of Rio's poorest neighborhoods—the favelas—were evicted and forced to move, in many cases as far as 20 or 30 miles to the west. Hosting the games ultimately cost Brazil $20 billion, with little positive to show for the investment.
Rio 2016 assembles the views of leading experts on Brazil and the Olympics into a clear-eyed assessment of the impact of the games on Brazil in general and on the lives of Cariocas, as Rio's residents are known. Edited by sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, the other contributors include Juliana Barbassa, Jules Boykoff, Jamil Chade, Stephen Essex, Renata Latuf, and Theresa Williamson.
The global financial crisis of 2007–09 highlighted the economic interdependencies between all major countries, raising the issues of international cooperation. Managing Complexity: Economic Policy Cooperation after the Crisis looks at how, following the global financial crisis, countries have changed the way they cooperate with each other on matters of economic policy.
In this volume, the result of a joint research project of Chatham House and the International Monetary Fund, researchers and policymakers who were directly involved in the crisis take a critical look at the challenges facing international policy cooperation in the new postcrisis environment and at how the theory and practice of cooperation have evolved as a result of the crisis.