Monday, July 14, 2008

Convention Problems in Denver

As the Beacon Hill Institute found in 2004, the economic benefits of hosting political conventions are often exaggerated. City officials and convention planners overrate the contributions made by conventioneers to the local economy without seriously taking into account the costs such events incur. In addition, last minute changes can upset the best estimates.

According to, Denver-area businesses are disappointed; they don't think they'll benefit the upcoming August Democratic convention. They blame union requirements, poor communication and disorganization of the Democratic committee for the dismal prospects.

There's one more wrinkle. The presumptive Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama will now move his acceptance speech to Invesco Field, which will increase the cost of security. Thus another item on the expense side of the ledger rather than a boost.

Measuring the costs and benefits of political conventions requires a look at what conventions displace. The key is always to make sure that business as usual occurs and that disruptions are kept to a minimum. More background on the economics of political convention can be found here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its very similiar to Boston's when the new South Boston Convention Center was online in time for the Dem convention but they instead opt for the Garden venue. Why on earth do these conventions centers exists anyway and why at taxpayer expense? These private vendors support a center and be done with it.

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