Dennis Coates Weighs the Costs and Benefits of Public Subsidies for Sports Franchises in Orange County Register Op-Ed

As several NFL franchises are competing to relocate to the Los Angeles area, Dennis Coates, a professor of economics, argues that facts do not support the claim that professional football would be an economic goldmine for Southern California. Coates wrote an op-ed published in The Orange County Register in which he argued public subsidies for professional sports franchises do not always provide the economic boom that officials hope for.

Dennis CoatesIn the column, Coates referenced a study he did with a colleague that was recently updated to examine the economic impact of professional sports teams in major cities across the country: “Our findings were clear: Professional sports had no positive impact on an area’s economy, and actually harmed residents’ per capita incomes,” Coates wrote.

Coates argued that the public should closely examine whether a stadium and professional franchise investment will produce a real return for citizens.

“Now, as then, the data disprove the claim that a city can use stadium and arena construction, or the attraction or retention of a professional sports franchise, to enhance the income of its citizens,” he explained. “In the economics of both sports and public policy, resources are scarce and must be put to their best use. Not all subsidies will make the cut.”

Read “Pro sports great, just not for local economy” in the Orange County Register.

Update 10/27: Coates appeared on WTOP to discuss to impact of spending taxpayer dollars on pro sports stadiums. 

Social Sciences Forum: When and Why Subjective Well-Being Matters (11/5)

erik-angnerSocial Sciences Forum
Erik Angner, associate professor of philosophy, economics, and public policy, George Mason University
Thursday, November 5 | 4 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery  

The so-called science of happiness — the systematic empirical study of happiness, understood as a subjectively experienced mental state — is both politically controversial and philosophically interesting. Erik Angner will discuss under what conditions such a measure of happiness can serve as a proxy for well-being.

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy and Economics

Douglas Lamdin, Economics, Featured on AAII

Douglas Lamdin, Economics, had his recent study featured on the website of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII). The article, “New Evidence on Whether Gold Mining Stocks are More Like Gold or Like Stocks” was co-authored with Mark Johnson of Loyola University, Maryland, and is forthcoming in the journal Alternative Investment Analyst Review.

Doug LamdinThe study examined the role of gold and gold mining stocks in diversified portfolios. Lamdin and Johnson found that neither gold nor gold mining stocks are a hedge against declines in the stock market. Both gold and gold mining stocks, however, do provide diversification benefits, with gold the preferred diversifying asset.

Douglas Lamdin, Economics, Receives NABE Abramson Award

Douglas Lamdin, economics, was selected as the annual recipient of the Abramson Award for the outstanding article published in the past year in Business Economics, the journal of the NatioDoug Lamdinnal Association for Business Economics (NABE).

The article, “Gauging the Financial Capability of Americans,” was coauthored with Mark Johnson, a faculty member in the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University, Maryland. The past two recipients of this award were Lawrence Summers at Harvard University, and John Taylor at Stanford University.

Social Sciences Forum: Surnames and Social Mobility: Why So Much Persistence of Status Across Generations? (9/8)

Gregory ClarkSocial Sciences Forum
Gregory Clark, professor of economics, University of California-Davis 
Wednesday, September 9 | 4 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library 7th Floor 

How much of our fate is tied to the status of our parents and grandparents? Using a novel technique–tracking family names over generations to measure social mobility across countries and periods—renowned economic historian Gregory Clark argues that social mobility rates are lower than conventionally estimated, do not vary across societies, and are resistant to social policies.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics. 

Christelle Viauroux, Economics, Finds that Mandatory Life Jacket Use Could Reduce Recreational Boating Deaths by 80 Percent

Christelle ViaurouxA new study by Christelle Viauroux, an associate professor of economics, found that requiring recreational boat operators to wear life jackets would increase the odds of surviving a boating accident by 80 percent. Viauroux conducted the study with Ali Gungor of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Standards Evaluation and Analysis Division and the findings were published in Risk Analysis.

The researchers used data from 2008 to 2011 from the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Accident Report Database (BARD) and compared life jacket use to other factors affecting fatalities in recreational boating.

A major goal of the research was to assess the impact of a mandatory life jacket policy on the recreational boating fatality rate. “However, such a major and controversial policy cannot be implemented without a thorough investigation of life jacket effectiveness. A lot of the work focusing on reducing recreational boating fatalities lacked the availability of life jacket use data,” the authors wrote in their published findings.

The research recently received news coverage in U.S. News Health. The story noted that from 2008 to 2011, making life jacket use mandatory would have likely led to a 20 percent increase in life jacket use by recreational boaters and “the researchers estimated the increased life jacket use would have saved more than 1,700 boaters and more than 1,200 drowning victims.” Read “Mandatory life jacket laws could reduce boating deaths” in U.S. News.

Read more about Christelle Viauroux’s research and a press release announcing the findings of the study.

UMBC Student Entrepreneurship Featured in the Baltimore Sun July Education Supplement

The economics department Student Investment Fund was highlighted in a Baltimore Sun July education supplement article featuring student entrepreneurship at colleges and universities in Maryland. The fund began in 2010: “The primary objective of the fund is to provide participating students an opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience in security research, valuation of risky assets, asset allocation, and portfolio management, and, in turn, to increase the marketability of UMBC students in industries such as equity research, investment banking, commercial banking and corporate finance,” said Chunming Yuan, an assistant professor of economics and faculty adviser to the program. Student Investment Fund Bradlee Kilgore ’15, economics, is also quoted in the article and participated in the fund as an undergraduate. He is now an associate analyst at T. Rowe Price. “We are able to act as security analysts and portfolio managers, which gives those of us who want a career in the financial industry hands-on experience,” he said. Michael Gardner and Nathan Hefner, founders of NeighborhoodNet, were mentioned in the article for winning the second annual Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition coordinated through the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship. They won $5,000 and a membership at Betamore for their software platform that supports community association websites. Michael Leung, a junior computer science major who served as team lead for HueBots, was quoted in a separate article featuring colleges and universities staying ahead of the curve with technology. He talked about how many people at the Microsoft Image Cup were impressed with the UMBC team’s game because it was fully completed while others were still in the development stages. “The judges were blown away and everyone loved it. Even though we did not win first prize, they all know who UMBC is now.” To read more about the HueBots competition, read “Gaming Gets Real,” on the UMBC website. Note: The online version of the Baltimore Sun education supplement is not yet available.