Doping and Fair Play
AbstractThe conventional approach to the economic analysis of doping in sport is that athletes are typically involved in a Prisoner’s Dilemma-type interaction (Breivik 1987, Bird and Wagner 1997, Eber and Thépot 1999, Haugen 2004).1 The idea is straightforward: doping being a dominant strategy (i.e., yielding a preferred outcome regardless of the strategy used by the competitor), each athlete finds it optimal to take drugs; this results in a situation of generalized doping although each athlete would be better off in a dope-free world. However, athletes generally share some level of fair play norms that tend to inhibit them from doping.2 The importance of such ethics has been fully recognized by Bird and Wagner (1997, p. 755): “Doping is an unfair practice that is hard to define and observe; the only real hope for ending the practice of doping lies in the norms of fair competition among the athletes.”Eber (2008) recently showed that the incorporation of fair play norms into the analysis of the basic performance-enhancing drug game may lead to a substantial modification in the very nature of the game, switching it from a Prisoner’s Dilemma to a coordination (“stag-hunt”) game characterized by two (pure-strategy) equilibria: a “bad” – doping – equilibrium but also a “good” – no-doping – one. “Fair play” athletes then appear as “conditional cooperators:”guided by fair play values, they do not take drugs if they expect that their competitors also do not, but take drugs when they expect that others do the same. Hence, the main problem for athletes becomes to coordinate their intentions.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance in its journal Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP).
Volume (Year): 39 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
doping; economics of sport; illegal activities;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
- M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bird, Edward J. & Wagner, Gert G., 1997. "Sport as a Common Property Resource: A Solution to the Dilemmas of Doping," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
- Nicolas Eber, 2011. "Fair play in contests," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 103(3), pages 253-270, July.
- Ian Preston, 2003. "Cheating in Contests," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 612-624, Winter.
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