Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why Macro Is So Hard: What Passes for an Expert

This is actually an addendum to a topic that’s already part of the canon (here’s an example, and it’s been in the principles lecture on this topic for years).

So, here’s Deadspin’s headline from another example:

Florida's Go-To Stadium Economist Is A Hack,
A Shill, And Also Not An Economist

Everyone should know by now that sports stadiums and arenas are a very bad investment for their communities (and everyone around SUU should absolutely know this, given how much Berri, Price, and I repeat it).

In this particular case, Tampa is building a stadium for a team that doesn’t even have Tampa in its name.

Wha, wha, what?

Tampa is building a stadium for the Toronto Blue Jays to use for spring training.

(Now, if you’ve never been to spring training, it is a thing, but not a big thing. We’re talking about 15 or so games, held over 5 weeks, that average about 5K fans a piece.)

For perspective, Tampa is spending 4 times on this stadium what SUU is spending on new business building.

Maybe one reason is they hired a consultant who produced an economic report indicating that it was a good way to spend their money:

If Bonn’s studies don’t sound very economically robust, perhaps it is because Bonn isn’t actually an economist! He is a professor at FSU’s school of hospitality, where he teaches marketing and wine-tasting, and his degree is in resource development.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean Bonn can’t do the economic work; I also do not have a degree in economics. Then again, I don’t charge $23,000 for economic impact studies …

For clarity, Bonn wrote the report, and the “I” in the quote is the author of the linked piece on Deadspin.

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