Italian World Cup win "will benefit" global economy

The world economy will benefit most from an Italian victory at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, according to ABN AMRO economists in their 3rd Soccernomics 2006 study. Although the direct economic impact (higher sales in bars and cafes) is marginal, good performances on the pitch can certainly stimulate an economy. In the past, countries winning the World Cup added around 0.7% to their economic growth. And at the last three tournaments the winning country's stock market considerably outperformed the losing finalist's market. On average there was 10% positive effect in the winner and a 25% negative effect in the loser.

According to Charles Kalshoven of the ABN AMRO Economics Department, "the Italian economy is hampered by an inflexible labour market and deteriorating competitiveness. An Italian victory in the World Cup final would boost consumer and producer confidence, and thus lead to more spending and investment. 'Made in Italy' would also reap more benefits abroad. This may well push economic growth upwards, which would then give the government scope to introduce economic reforms."

ABN AMRO's economists take as their starting point the imbalances in the world economy, above all the US current account deficit. Additional growth in Europe would cushion the inevitable correction to this situation. To achieve this, a major European country needs to win the World Cup to spark an economic upswing. The 'economic final' in soccernomics should therefore be between Germany and Italy, with Italy lifting the World Cup.