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Title: Misguided Goals on the International Stage: An Analysis of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and the Economic and Social Implications of Developing Nations Hosting Mega-Events
Authors: Platt, Clayton Taylor Jr.
Advisors: Massey, Douglas
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2014
Abstract: This thesis analyzes the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to determine how hosting the Cup impacts developing countries and to contribute to the literature examining the true effects of large, international sporting events (mega-events). Mega-events are framed in many ways from their symbolic importance to their social impact, but, in the current public discourse, the economic effects tend to dominate. Rhetoric from national governments and international organizations (e.g. FIFA) tend to distort the real consequences of these events, which can be detrimental to developing countries. This thesis concentrates on Brazil 2014 in particular for two reasons: 1) it is the most recent and therefore most pertinent example, and 2) I believe it clearly illustrates the problems associated with hosting events like the World Cup and the ways in which they are misrepresented to citizens. I construct my argument by first reviewing historical examples, then focusing on South Africa as a case study, before finally analyzing Brazil in close detail. Research has lent some credence to the positive social impact of the World Cup, especially in establishing a nation’s “brand,” but academics simultaneously refute the economic impact studies that governments rely on to justify and support staging the event. South Africa—the 2010 host of the World Cup and a close analog of Brazil— demonstrates the discrepancy between rhetoric and reality. Government leaders stressed the developmental impact of the event and its potential to enhance cohesion, but the World Cup drained public resources and deepened socio-economic divides. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil figures to continue in this trend. The preparations have suffered from delays and corruptions (greatly escalating costs) as well as poor organization and oversight. Construction efforts have led to over 170,000 evictions and other potential violations of human rights. From an economic standpoint, the country has invested millions of dollars in white elephant stadiums and stands to gain little economically from hosting the event although it may slightly enhance the country’s international image. I will extrapolate from the Brazilian example and mega-events more generally, offering policy recommendations for future hosts of World Cup to limit costs and leverage their positive effects. I conclude that staging the World Cup poses distinct challenges for developing countries, and that the general discussion about hosting the World Cup (and other mega-events) must change to allow citizens to make more informed decisions about bidding to host the event.
Extent: 140 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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