THE SWORN enemies of Europe’s central bankers include Vladimir Putin, covid-19 and, apparently, Beyoncé. All three have recently been blamed for hot inflation, but the American singer seems an unlikely macroeconomic force.
Hotel prices surged in Sweden when 46,000 fans flocked to the capital, Stockholm, for the pop star’s tour in May. The country’s consumer-price index hit 9.7% that month, higher than expected. “Beyoncé is responsible,” declared one local economist, as though he had caught her red-handed. Do superstar tours really spur inflation?
In most cases, probably not. Inflation is calculated by comparing the prices of a basket of goods, rather than measuring sudden price rises in one sector, such as hotels. Britain’s consumer-price index, for example, includes almost 750 goods and services.
Concerts, theatre and cinema have a weight of less than 0.8% in the basket. Countrywide inflation therefore rarely jumps as a result of a single event, unless it is on an enormous scale.
Fans of Taylor Swift, another pop giant, are projected to spend around $600m on tickets for her current tour of America—but the country’s consumers spent almost $7trn over an equivalent period last year. Tours are big business, but not that big.