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Illuminating the World Cup effect: Night lights evidence from South Africa

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  • Gregor Pfeifer
  • Fabian Wahl
  • Martyna Marczak

Abstract

This paper evaluates the economic impact of the $14 billion preparatory infrastructure investments for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. We use satellite data on night light luminosity at municipality and electoral district level as a proxy for economic activity, applying synthetic control methods for estimation. For the average World Cup municipality, we find significantly positive, short‐run effects before the tournament, corresponding to a reduction of unemployment by 1.3 percentage points. At the electoral district level, we reveal distinct effect heterogeneity, where especially investments in transport infrastructure are shown to have long‐lasting, positive effects, particularly in rural areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregor Pfeifer & Fabian Wahl & Martyna Marczak, 2018. "Illuminating the World Cup effect: Night lights evidence from South Africa," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 887-920, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:58:y:2018:i:5:p:887-920
    DOI: 10.1111/jors.12410
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    2. Joshua C. Hall & Josh Matti & Yang Zhou, 2020. "The economic impact of city–county consolidations: a synthetic control approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 184(1), pages 43-77, July.
    3. Russ, Jason, 2020. "Water runoff and economic activity: The impact of water supply shocks on growth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    4. Matthias Firgo, 2019. "The Causal Economic Effects of Olympic Games on Host Regions," WIFO Working Papers 591, WIFO.
    5. Majdi Debbich, 2019. "Assessing Oil and Non-Oil GDP Growth from Space: An Application to Yemen 2012-17," IMF Working Papers 2019/221, International Monetary Fund.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning
    • Z28 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - Policy

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