Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics and Politics

Reader 1

Nicholas Kacher

Reader 2

Nayana Bose

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© 2020 Anna M Gillespie


Professional sports teams operate like other big firms and move to different cities depending on where they think they will be successful and what city is willing to offer them the best deal and incentives. Cities place bids and compete with each other to be selected as the location for the expanding firm because local governments believe that bringing in a new big firm will act as a catalyst for economic development and growth; however, a review of the literature finds that there is no consistent, overwhelming evidence that municipal governments’ subsidizing big firms as a strategy for urban development creates significant economic growth. In my study, I examine the connection between big firms, specifically professional sports teams, and the environment using NBA teams’ movement into new cities from the year 1980 onward and analyzing changes in air quality index (AQI). I look at the effect of bringing in a big firm as a form of urban development to promote economic growth on the environment. In my research, I use median AQI as an indicator of environmental impact. In the treatment vs. control cities’ difference-in-difference analysis and the all-treatment city pre and post-treatment (PPT) regression, statistically significant results were seen in the impact on median AQI. They did not all have the same positive or negative impact, so further discussion takes place to interpret the findings.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.