Sports and Local Growth in Sweden: Is a Sports Team Good for Local Economic Growth?

Emelie Värja

This study investigates whether net migration and per capita income growth are affected by successful local soccer or ice hockey teams. Local governments support local professional teams and are often motivated by the alleged positive externalities, which, ultimately, are supposed to enhance the tax base. We estimate spatial panel data models using data from all Swedish municipalities for the 1996–2012 period. Even with this alternative modeling framework, we still find no evidence of a positive relationship between teams in the highest league and the local tax base; we do, however, find indications of a negative effect from ice hockey on average income growth.