Does it make sense to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Washington, D.C.? Economics Professor Dennis Coates recently shared his thoughts on this question on WAMU’s Metro Connection. The U.S. Olympic Committee has confirmed Washington, D.C. as a finalist to host the Olympics along with San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston.
Coates shared insight on whether the financial investment in hosting the Olympics in D.C. would be worth the return. “By and large most of the cities that hosted saw a decline relative to what would have happened had they not hosted the event,” he said. And the primary reason, he believes, is the crowds.
“People respond to the possibility of crowds, if they’re locals, by saying one of two things. One is ‘I’m getting out of Dodge,’ which means there is a lot of flight so normal expenditures don’t occur. The other is ‘I am not leaving my house,’” Coates said.
Coates also addressed the argument that hosting the Olympics can lead to investment and improvements in infrastructure. “If you need the infrastructure, build the infrastructure,” he said. “You don’t need to throw a party for the world to justify spending the money to redo highways, pave some roads, work on the subway system or whatever. It’s well justified if it’s worth doing; it doesn’t need a party to justify it.”
To listen to the full, six-minute interview with Coates that aired on Metro Connection, click here.