An Open Letter to Mayor Anthony Williams and the DC City Council from 90 Economists on the Likely Impact of a Taxpayer-Financed Baseball Stadium in the District of Columbia


Dear Mayor Williams and DC Council Members:

A vast body of economic research on the impact of baseball stadiums suggests that the proposed $440 million baseball stadium in the District of Columbia will not generate notable economic or fiscal benefits for the city.  Most studies find that new sports stadiums do not increase employment or incomes and sometimes have a modest negative effect on local economies.  The reason appears to be that sports stadiums do not increase overall entertainment spending but merely shift it from other entertainment venues to the stadium.

Research also suggests that a baseball stadium alone will not revitalize the Anacostia waterfront.  Because sports stadiums are not used most of the year, they do not stimulate much development outside the stadium.  Most modern stadiums include restaurant and other entertainment offerings, limiting the money that goes to neighboring businesses.

A new stadium cannot be expected to generate a net increase in economic activity in the Washington metropolitan area, but it may shift some entertainment spending from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs into the District.  Nevertheless, the economic benefits to the District are not likely to outweigh the large stadium subsidy proposed by the District.  At least 80 percent of the costs of the $440 million stadium are expected to be supported with public funds.

In short, it is dubious to justify the use of public funds to subsidize construction of a DC baseball stadium on economic development grounds.


Henry J. Aaron
Brookings Institution
Geoffrey Andron
Austin Community College
Robert A. Baade
Lake Forest College
Charles W. Baird
California State University – Hayward
Doug Bandow
Cato Institute
Andy H. Barnett
Auburn University
John H. Beck
Gonzaga University
M. Douglas Berg
Sam Houston State University
David J. Berri
California State University – Bakersfield
John Berthoud
George Washington University
Elizabeth C. Bogan
Princeton University
Samuel Bostaph
University of Dallas
Scott Bradford
Brigham Young University
John B. Bryant
Rice University
Dennis Coates
University of Maryland – Baltimore County
John P. Cochran
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Christian Crowley
George Washington University
Otto A. Davis
Carnegie Mellon University
Gregory J. Delemeester
Marietta College
Craig Depken
University of Texas – Arlington
John Dobra
University of Nevada
Robert M. Dunn Jr.
George Washington University
Frank Falero
California State University
Arthur Fleisher III
Metropolitan State College
Micah Frankel
California State University – Hayward
Kenneth R. French
Dartmouth University – Tuck School of Business
Dennis E. Gale
Rutgers University
John M. Gandar
University of North Carolina – Charlotte
David Garthoff

The University of Akron

David E.R. Gay
University of Arkansas
Otis Gilley
Louisiana Tech University
David Gold
New School University
Peter Gordon
University of Southern California
Robert Hahn
AEI-Brookings Joint Center
Dennis Halcoussis
California State University – Northridge
Pat Hendershott
University of Aberdeen – Scotland
David R. Henderson
Hoover Institute
Brad Humphreys
University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana
F. Jerry Ingram
The University of Lousiana-Monroe
Bruce Johnson
Centre College
David L. Kaserman
Auburn University
Raymond J. Keating
Small Business Survival Committee
David Laband
Auburn University
Thomas M. Lenard
The Progress & Freedom Foundation
Stan Liebowitz
University of Texas – Dallas
R. Ashley Lyman
University of Idaho
Doug MacKenzie
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Michael L. Marlow
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo
Victor Matheson
College of the Holy Cross
Fred S. McChesney
Northwestern University
Carlisle Moody
College of William & Mary
Richard F. Muth
Emory University
Roger Noll
Stanford University
James B. O’Neill
University of Delaware
Jeffrey Owen
Indiana State University
Allen Parkman
University of New Mexico
William S. Peirce
Case Western Reserve University
Philip Porter
University of South Florida
Barry W. Poulson
University of Colorado
Richard W. Rahn
Discovery Institute
W. Robert Reed
University of Oklahoma
Jay R. Ritter
University of Florida
Paul H. Rubin
Emory University
Raymond Sauer
Clemson University
Martin Schmidt
College of William & Mary
Michael A. Schuyler
Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
Carlos Seiglie
Rutgers University
Rich Shields
Keller Graduate School of Management
Stephen Shmanske
California State University – Hayward
William F. Shughart II
University of Mississippi
John J. Siegfried
Vanderbilt University
Neil T. Skaggs
Illinois State University
James F. Smith
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Mark Steckbeck
Hillsdale College
E. Frank Stephenson
Berry College
Courtenay C. Stone
Ball State University
Alexander Tabarrok
George Mason University
John Tatom
DePaul University
Henry Townsend
Leo Troy
Rutgers University – Newark
Richard K. Vedder
Ohio University
Scott Wallsten
American Enterprise Institute
John T. Wenders
University of Idaho
Robert Whaples
Wake Forest University
Walter E. Williams
George Mason University
Dennise P. Wilson
University of Texas – Arlington
Gary Wolfram
Hillsdale College
Kate Zhou
University of Hawaii
Andrew Zimbalist
Smith College
Benjamin Zycher
Pacific Research Institute

End Note:

Institutions are listed for informational purposes only.