Stadiums and opportunity costs

By Paul Walker 04/09/2012

John Spry, an economist with St. Thomas University in the Twin Cities, has written an opinion piece in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in which he takes issue with proposals to build a new stadium for the St. Paul Saints (an independent league baseball team) and to renovate the Target Center, the arena for the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

Spry make a number of points against these ideas, but one of the most important is

Finally, politicians erroneously claim that construction spending for these sports facilities will create jobs for Minnesotans. These claims ignore the basic economic concept of opportunity cost. Instead of building duplicative facilities, we could have either more productive public spending, such as improved courts or roads, or reduced taxes on private-sector investments.

Thinking about the opportunity cost of such proposals is important in any situation but it is doubly important for cities like Christchurch were there is so much that needs to be done.

(HT: The Sports Economist)