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About Winning: The Political Economy of Awarding the World Cup and the Olympic Games


The hosting of major sporting events such as the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup has become the subject of intense competition among nations. Governments seem willing to make large financial commitments in order to win the bidding competition but evidence suggests that the economic impact of this spending is limited. While this outcome is easily understood in terms of rent seeking behavior, it is suggested that organizations such as the IOC and FIFA could better serve their constituents by diverting competition away from lavish provision of facilities towards goals that would raise participation in sports.