Chart: The Diamond Jubilee and the British economy

Is the royal party a stimulus or a drag?


Graphic art: Photography: Reuters/CP Images. Sources: Department for Culture Media and Sport, Impact Assessment; Time magazine;; Centre for Retail Research; Visit Britain.

Whether this weekend’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations will be a much-needed stimulus or an unnecessary drag on the ailing U.K. economy has been the object of heated debate in the British media. Of course, such calculations are always an educated guess at best. This is primarily because the most important number–the value of output lost by adding a national holiday devoted to royal celebrations–is based on a what-if estimate of how much the economy would have grown in the absence of the “Jubilee effect.” For the Diamond Jubilee, the British government has estimated that number at nearly $2 billion. (The direct cost the Jubilee–borne in part by individual donors and corporate sponsorships–is in the millions, a negligible sum in terms of the country’s GDP.)

On the opposite side of the guessing game, British retailers have provided a wealth of estimates–some wildly optimistic–about how much the Queen’s Jubilee will inject into the economy via shopping and tourism.

In the end, some analysts have noted, the net effect of the Jubilee might very much depend on that most supremely uncontrollable of variables–especially in Britain: the weather. Sunny, warm days would help Britons and visitors spend. Cold, rainy ones won’t. Unfortunately, so far the forecast is rain.

Interested in more Maclean’s Diamond Jubilee coverage? Take a look at our e-book on the Queen. Keep watch on Maclean’ for continuing coverage of festivities.


Chart: The Diamond Jubilee and the British economy

  1. I think is worth it and I suspect most Brittish do too. What makes our world so special and worth living are the traditions, our history, our different cultures. I wish I was there.

    God save the Queen!

  2. This tabulation seems about right – you can’t make much economic sense from the Jubilee. But why are we discussing this in economic terms? I hate monarchy as much as anyone could, but a country should be able to celebrate whatever it happens to consider important in whatever way the people want. Otherwise life is just bland.