Paul Kirby points out to a new working paper by Bent Flyvbjerg and colleagues where they make a systematic analyses of the costs and cost overruns for every Olympic Games between 1960 and 2016.
Flyvbjerg, B., Budzier, A., & Stewart, A. (2016). The Oxford Olympics Study 2016: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Games. Available at SSRN 2804554.
Some of the main findings highlighted by the authors:
- Average actual outturn cost for Summer Games is USD 5.2 billion (2015 level), and USD 3.1 billion for Winter Games
- The most expensive Summer Olympic games in history was London 2012, which cost $15 billion. The cheapest one was in Tokyo in 1964, for a grand total of only $280 million.
- Olympics have the highest average cost overrun of any type of megaproject, at 156 percent in real terms.
- Fourth, and finally, the Rio 2016 Games, at a cost of USD 4.6 billion, appear to be on track to reverse the high expenditures of London 2012 and Sochi 2014 and deliver a Summer Games at the median cost for such Games. The cost overrun for Rio – at 51 percent in real terms, or USD 1.6 billion – is the same as the median cost overrun for other Games since 1999.
By the way, Flyvbjerg has given a interesting interview at EconTalk. Highly recommended.
click on the image to enlarge it