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Think Tank

Why Brazil Needs to Win the World Cup

Are you a country that needs an economic boost? Just make sure that your national team wins the World Cup.

Soccer fever is upon us, or football fever as the rest of the world refers to the sport that Americans just can’t seem to appreciate. Big Think’s resident economist Daniel Altman explains why Brazil needs the economic points of not only hosting the World Cup, and all 32 competing teams, but must win it as well. And let’s add in the pressure that there must be no major security disruptions, to ensure people’s safety and win investor confidence. That’s what we call an economic hat trick.  

After losing to Uruguay last time it hosted the tournament, can Brazil beat its soccer and economic slump? “In the past we've seen a pattern where countries that host the World Cup don't necessarily make off that much better economically, but countries that win the World Cup do seem to get a little boost over the next few years. So this could be just the confidence boost that the Brazilian economy needs,” he explains.

Altman points out that Brazil has won the World Cup before, five times to be exact—more than any other country. It hasn’t hosted the event since 1950, and its economy in recent years has been lagging. There are also fears that it doesn’t have what it takes to ensure a smooth tournament.

“There have been a lot of dire predictions about how safe people will be, whether the Brazilian World Cup will turn into something of a disaster and an embarrassment,” says Alter. “I don't think they're likely to turn out to be true, because we heard a lot of the same predictions before the World Cup in South Africa four years ago.”

For more on Altman’s insights into the 2014 World Cup and what’s at stake for the host country, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview:

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