What is tango worth to Argentina?

The question arose in the context of this month’s interview with the Ambassador, and we talked in generalities, but a little data has emerged…

US$450million – half a billion dollars, or $7 billion pesos (at the current exchange rate of around 15.56 pesos to the US dollar), mostly accruing to the city of Buenos Aires. Which is non-trivial, although should be understood in the context of a city of 11 million people, and so is (very roughly)  around 1/2 % of GDP for the city.

This is from a 2007 estimate prepared by the City of Buenos Aires (Marchini 20o7, quoted in The Tango Machine , Morgan James Luker, University of Chicago Press,2016,  p.12). But see also ‘Don’t Lie To Me, Argentina’ (The Economist, 23 February 2012), for a discussion of the rubberiness of many official statistics from Argentina.

Still, over recent months it appears that Argentina’s unemployment and inflation rates are being reported more accurately by the government (‘Argentina counts on credible statistics’, Financial Times, 16 June 2016). I will keep looking for some more up-to-date indicators.

Footnote: this is, of course, about inflow accruing to the City…but how much of it accrues to tango itself – to dancers, to milonga organisers, to shoe manufacturers, to musicians? Very little, it would appear (The Tango Machine, p. 13; ‘Tango In Trouble’, The Economist, 19 January 2017).

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