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European capitals of culture and life satisfaction

  • Lasse Steiner
  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Simone Hotz

This paper analyzes whether hosting the most prestigious European cultural event, the European Capital of Culture, has an impact on regional economic development or the life satisfaction of the local population. Concerning the economic impact, we show that European Capitals are hosted in regions with above average GDP per capita, but do not causally affect the economic development in a significant way. Even a positive impact on GDP per capita would not imply a positive impact on individual utility or social welfare of the regional population. Surprisingly, using difference-in-difference estimations, a negative effect on the well-being of the regional population is found during the event. Since no effect is found before the event, reverse causality and positive anticipation can be ruled out. The negative effect during the event might result from dissatisfaction with the high levels of public expenditure, transport disruptions, general overcrowding or an increase in housing prices.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 117.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:117
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  1. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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  6. Kavetsos, Georgios & Szymanski, Stefan, 2010. "National well-being and international sports events," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 158-171, April.
  7. Victor Matheson, 2006. "Mega-Events: The effect of the world’s biggest sporting events on local, regional, and national economies," Working Papers 0622, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
  8. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
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