In a study released this month, Harvard Kennedy School professor Daniel Shoag and the American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Stan Veuger traced the spillover effect of James’s career path from Cleveland to Miami and back. They found that in each city the 13-time All-Star forward had a “statistically and economically significant positive effect” on the number of restaurants and bars near his city’s stadium, as well as employment in the industry.
“Specifically, his presence increased the number of restaurants within 1 mile of a stadium by about 12.8% and the number of eating and drinking establishments by about 13.7%,” Shoag and Veuger wrote. Employment at the establishments also rose 23.5 percent. However, as the distance from the stadium increased, the James effects decreased. And outside seven miles, his presence had no significant impact. “This confirms our suspicion: that superstars can make a difference that has a noticeable economic impact, and that the impact is very local,” Shoag and Veuger wrote.