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Damaging the perfect image of athletes: How sport promotes envy

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  • Jérémy CELSE

Abstract

We explore the behavioural and affective differences between subjects practicing sport activities and subjects not practicing sport. Are athletes more distressed by unfavourable social comparisons and more prone to engage in hostile behaviour than non-athletes? Using experimental methods, we investigate the connection between sport practice and antisocial behaviour. In our experiment we capture the satisfaction subjects derive from unflattering social comparisons by asking them to evaluate their satisfaction after being informed of their own endowment and after being informed of their opponent’s endowment. Then subjects can decide to reduce their opponent’s endowment by incurring a cost. We observe that sport plays a key role on both individual well-being and behaviour: 1) sport practice amplifies the negative impact of unfavourable social comparisons on individual well-being and 2) sport practice exerts subjects to reduce others’ income. Besides the satisfaction sporty subjects report from social comparisons predicts their decisions to reduce others’ income. Finally we provide empirical evidences suggesting that envy affects significantly athletes’ satisfaction and behaviour.

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File URL: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/Documents/DR2011-16.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 11-16.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision: Jun 2011
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:11-16

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  1. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
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  3. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
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  10. Jérémy Celse, 2010. "Sketching Envy from Philosophy to Psychology," Working Papers 10-22, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised 2010.
  11. Dijk, W.W. van & Pligt, J. van der & Zeelenberg, M., 1999. "Effort invested in vain: The impact of effort on the intensity of disappointment and regret," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-82527, Tilburg University.
  12. Jérémy Celse, 2009. "Will Joe the Plumber envy Bill Gates? The impact of both absolute and relative differences on interdependent preferences," Working Papers 09-26, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2009.
  13. Ben-Shakhar, Gershon & Bornstein, Gary & Hopfensitz, Astrid & van Winden, Frans, 2007. "Reciprocity and emotions in bargaining using physiological and self-report measures," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 314-323, June.
  14. Daniel Miles & Maximo Rossi, 2007. "Learning about one's relative position and subjective well-being," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(13), pages 1711-1718.
  15. Ewing, Bradley T., 1998. "Athletes and work," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 113-117, April.
  16. Jérémy Celse, 2010. "Envy in Othello. Can effort explain such a tragic issue?," Working Papers 10-23, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised 2010.
  17. John M. Barron & Bradley T. Ewing & Glen R. Waddell, 2000. "The Effects Of High School Athletic Participation On Education And Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 409-421, August.
  18. Bradley Ewing, 1995. "High school athletics and the wages of black males," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 65-78, June.
  19. Nicolas Eber, 2006. "Les sportifs sont-ils (vraiment) différents ?. Une approche par l'économie expérimentale," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(3), pages 623-633.
  20. Bosman, Ronald & Sutter, Matthias & van Winden, Frans, 2005. "The impact of real effort and emotions in the power-to-take game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 407-429, June.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Athletes are more competitive, but also more destructively envious
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-01-05 15:01:00

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