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The Host with the Most? The Effects of the Olympic Games on Happiness

SOEPpapers 858, 48 S.

Paul Dolan, Georgios Kavetsos, Christian Krekel, Dimitris Mavridis, Robert Metcalfe, Claudia Senik, Stefan Szymanski, Nicolas R. Ziebarth


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We show that hosting the Olympic Games in 2012 had a positive impact on the life satisfaction and happiness of Londoners during the Games, compared to residents of Paris and Berlin. Notwithstanding issues of causal inference, the magnitude of the effects is equivalent to moving from the bottom to the fourth income decile. But they do not last very long: the effects are gone within a year. These conclusions are based on a novel panel survey of 26,000 individuals who were interviewed during the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2013, i.e. before, during, and after the event. The results are robust to selection into the survey and to the number of medals won.

JEL-Classification: I30;I31;I38;L83;Z20;Z28
Keywords: Subjective wellbeing, life satisfaction, happiness, Olympic Games, natural experiment
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