The economic benefits of the Rugby World Cup may have been wildly overestimated by the tournament's backers, a senior academic said yesterday as the Reserve Bank hosed down expectations of a $700 million boost to the economy.

The Reserve Bank has published a paper on the macroeconomic impact of the cup in which it set out the assumptions underpinning its February estimate of $700 million in spending by visitors.

The Reserve Bank has stuck with its $700 million estimate despite expected visitor numbers rising from 85,000 to 95,000, citing offsetting factors such as the strength of our dollar.

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