Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bucking Convention

Sorry to rain on the parade.

Milwaukee should be leery, careful and realistic with their assumptions and expectations regarding hosting the Democratic National Convention.

In general, events like this are a boom for some and a bust for others. And, if you're lucky, you'll break even. Yet, hosting these events is far from a no-brainer, win-win for everyone.

As U.S News reported:
According to economists Robert Baade, Robert Baumann and Victor Matheson – who looked at the effect of every national political convention between 1970 and 2005 – such events "have a negligible impact on local economies." They found that "neither the presence of the Republican nor the Democratic National Convention has a discernable impact on employment, personal income, or personal income per capita in the cities where the events were held."
As another researcher put it:
By focusing on the 'bright, shiny object' of a political convention, we might be losing focus on the real economic fundamentals that could bring long-term prosperity.
Milwaukee has already been transforming itself and the region - without an expanded convention center, without a political convention, etc.  The Democratic National Convention might be fun and lucrative for some, but don't expect long-term gains from this political circus.  At best, Milwaukeans should hope for infrastructure improvements coinciding with the convention - roads, rail, water, electric, etc. - that will also benefit the city as a whole.

For Further Reading:
Rejecting “Conventional” Wisdom: Estimating the Economic Impact of National Political Conventions 
American Cities and the Politics of Party Conventions

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