IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

On the determinants of sporting success – A note on the Olympic Games


  • Eike Emrich

    () (Saarland University)

  • Markus Klein

    () (Saarland University)

  • Werner Pitsch

    () (Saarland University)

  • Christian Pierdzioch

    () (Helmut-Schmidt-University)


We analyzed whether, in democratic open societies, economic and demographic conditions allow sporting success at the aggregate level to be predicted. Theoretical considerations led to the hypothesis that the population size and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita should be important determinants of sporting success. Using regression analysis, we analyzed the influence of population size and GDP per capita on sporting success in Olympic Summer and Winter Games (1992 – 2010). Regarding the Olympic summer games, we found that the most powerful predictor is population size. In contrast, GDP per capita seems to play an important role as a predictor of sporting success with respect to the Olympic winter games.

Suggested Citation

  • Eike Emrich & Markus Klein & Werner Pitsch & Christian Pierdzioch, 2012. "On the determinants of sporting success – A note on the Olympic Games," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(3), pages 1890-1901.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-11-00722

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Bala Ramasamy, 2004. "Olympic Success and ASEAN Countries," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 5(3), pages 262-276, August.
    2. Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio & Stefan Szymanski, 2006. "Goal! Profit maximization and win maximization in football leagues," Working Papers 0621, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    3. Dawson, Peter & Dobson, Stephen & Gerrard, Bill, 2000. "Estimating Coaching Efficiency in Professional Team Sports: Evidence from English Association Football," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(4), pages 399-421, September.
    4. Mark Baimbridge, 1998. "Outcome uncertainty in sporting competition: the Olympic Games 1896-1996," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 161-164.
    5. Dobson, Stephen & Goddard, John, 2010. "Optimizing strategic behaviour in a dynamic setting in professional team sports," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 205(3), pages 661-669, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Christian Pierdzioch & Eike Emrich, 2013. "A Note on Corruption and National Olympic Success," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 41(4), pages 405-411, December.

    More about this item


    Olympic Games; sporting success; population size; GDP per capita; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-11-00722. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John P. Conley). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.