Festival Economia: A SxSW for Economics

Economipalooza? The Festival Economia is in its sixth year in Trento, Italy. (Photo: Giovanni Cavulli)

I’m giving a speech at the 6th annual Festival Economia in Trento, Italy, this week — a huge street fair financed by the provincial government and large corporations. As with Austin’s South by Southwest Music Festival, visitors buy badges and can attend any event. The only difference is that this is economics for the masses instead of music (and film) for the masses.

Why should a government spend tax dollars on this? I would argue that it educates the citizenry; but also, and much more importantly, it creates social capital — it creates cohesion among the citizenry that might otherwise be missing. That it also brings in thousands of visitors who pay for lodging and meals probably makes it attractive to local businesses too.

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  1. Imad Qureshi says:

    If someone wants to learn economics they can learn with their own money. Milton Friedman would be against this.

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  2. Josh says:

    SXSW is not for the masses if the tickets continue to cost what they do. Although maybe this leads to a question you guys could post- What makes something for the masses? Would the tickets have to be zero? Less than the 2.7 percent of the median us income(2009) that the early bird full tickets cost?

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  3. andrea says:

    Hamermesh was misled … the events of the “Festival Economia” are free

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  4. andrea says:

    for those who want to learn more … http://www.festivaleconomia.eu

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