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A Unique Gift Idea

Dec 10, 2010 • Government, Thinking Economically • 201 Views    No Comments

Would you like a bus stop named after you? In Chicago, you could do it.

The message here is that naming opportunities have been created in order to raise money for municipalities. You could catch a train at an AT&T subway stop in Philadelphia. Or, you might visit the Nestle Juicy Juice State Park in Brooklyn. Near a newly renovated store in Chicago, Apple is negotiating ($3.9 million) for the name of a train stop. More traditionally, parks and schools are possibilities.

Critics perfectly express where a slew of new names could take us. “The whole situation raises the frightening prospect in the near future that, instead of riding the Broad Street Subway to City Hall to Pattison, people will take the Coca-Cola Trolley from Pizza Hut to AT&T.”

The Economic Lesson

An economic lens takes us to opportunity cost when evaluating the proliferation of naming rights. On an opportunity cost chart, the alternative choices are, for example, The Broad Street Stop or the Pizza Hut Stop. The benefit of Broad Street is locational information. The benefit of the Pizza Hut name is municipal revenue. Which are you willing to sacrifice?

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