Feb 14, 2009

Olympic Gold for the Vancouver Sun


Just when I thought I had read the worst the Vancouver Sun can provide, I caught another Olympics article that sets a new standard. I suppose you could admire their extra effort — going for the Gold. But even here in my very relaxing Baja casa, I find it just plain annoying.

The gist of today’s article is that the benefits of the Olympics will exceed the costs, whatever they might be. And to justify this interesting claim they refer to what they suggest is the most cited cost-benefit study on the Olympics — a study done by InterVistas for the government in 2002.

Now of course I feel somewhat hurt by their failure to mention the 2003 cost-benefit I did with Celine Mauboules and Alan Greer that came to a markedly different conclusion (and which has had some 50,000 hits on the CCPA website). But aside from the personal slight, which I can easily get over with yet another shot of Cuervo Tradicional, the important point here is that InterVistas itself acknowledged their’s was not a cost-benefit study. It was an economic impact study. And the impacts were estimated on the assumption of widespread unemployment from 2002 to the present, something which simply was not been the case.

The InterVistas study tells us nothing about the magnitude of the benefits (or costs) of the Olympics. But then again, nor does the Vancouver Sun.