NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 20, 2004

Every four years, many cities offer to host one or both of the political conventions. They believe that the political conventions bring added revenue, tourism and other economic stimulus.

According to the Washington Times, however, both the Democratic and Republican Conventions brought in less economic stimulus than expected.

  • The Democratic convention in July brought Boston's economy $14.8 million, far less than the $154 million predicted by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, according to the Beacon Hill Institute, an economic research organization.
  • While the convention raked in $156.7 million, the city lost $141.9 million in lost tourism and commuter spending as well as from two canceled events.
  • The Beacon Hill Institute predicted the Republican Convention's economic benefit for New York would be $163 million -- more than $100 million less than the official New York prediction.

Additionally, the Times notes that political conventions entail a great amount of risk. They are ripe terrorist targets, require intrusive and obstructive security measures, and generate large protests. The negative effects can be long term. Court cases related to conventions can last for years after the event itself.

Nevertheless, many political leaders still support hosting political conventions. They claim that conventions raise a city's profile, both nationally and internationally.

Source: Cathy Gainor, "Bucking conventional thinking," Washington Times, September 4, 2004.


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