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Riding High: Success in Sports and the Rise of Doping Cultures

  • Holger Strulik

This article develops a socio-economic model that analyzes the doping decision of professional athletes. In their decision to use performance enhancing drugs athletes do not only evaluate the costs and benefits (in terms of potential rank improvement). They also take into account peer-group approval of using drugs. Peer-group approval is modelled as a lagged endogenous variable that depends on the share of drug using athletes in the history of a sport. This way, the model can explain multiple equilibria as "doping cultures". Besides the comparative statics of the equilibrium (how can a doping culture be eliminated?) the article also investigates how the doping decision is affected by standards set by the respective leader in a sport, e.g. Olympic qualification marks, and by the taste of victory, i.e. the disproportionate public veneration of winners.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01698.x
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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 114 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 539-574

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:114:y:2012:i:2:p:539-574
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  1. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
  2. Mark Duggan & Steven D. Levitt, 2000. "Winning Isn't Everything: Corruption in Sumo Wrestling," NBER Working Papers 7798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2001. "Social Approval, Values, and AFDC: A Reexamination of the Illegitimacy Debate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 637-666, June.
  4. Anandi Mani & Charles H. Mullin, 2004. "Choosing the Right Pond: Social Approval and Occupational Choice," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 835-862, October.
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