ICAS video: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games: Public or Private Interest?

Public lecture video by Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (ICAS). This lecture was held on July 1, 2016. Speaker was Eva Marikova Leeds, Professor of Economics at Moravian College.

Event Description

With few exceptions, economic studies that have examined the economic impact of hosting the Olympic Games conclude that the Games do not have a positive impact on the local and national economies. Despite this conclusion, many cities still bid for the Games. This presentation by Professor Eva Leeds provides some reasons for why Tokyo bid for the Games and evaluates the prospective costs and benefits for the city. Professor Leeds introduces four interest groups affected by the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the public, the politicians, and the construction industry. She weaves into this presentation a brief history of how Tokyo was designated as the host of the 2020 Games. Two unique features of the Japanese polity, the strength of the construction industry and the weakness of civic interest groups, encourage politicians to adopt projects, such as the Olympics, that favor the industry. She also examines the proposals of these groups, which overstate the benefits and understate the costs of the Olympics. She illustrates the general difficulty of developing a reliable economic impact study, and will summarize the Tokyo 2020 budget from the Candidature File. Finally, she presents the consequences of these actions, in particular the unfolding of the plans for the Olympics. She then shows the many changes in proposed costs that have already occurred since the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee submitted its Candidature File to the IOC, and highlights the future risks of rising costs and as well as potential shortfall of revenues that accrue to the city.

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