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Choosing “Flawed” aggregation rules: The benefit of social choice violations in a league that values competitive balance

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  • Boudreau, James W.
  • Sanders, Shane

Abstract

Revealed demand for competitive balance in sports leagues is well-established across many settings. The present study considers the role of aggregation rules (e.g., those that use aggregate individual performances to establish a set of team scores) in sports and other competitive environments. We find that competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome are minimized for aggregation rules that preserve the social choice principles of transitivity and independence. A league that values competitive balance should therefore prefer aggregation rules that violate these social choice principles. Such a preference for ambiguity may not be costless, however, as it may entail important distributional implications for teams, managers, and coaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Boudreau, James W. & Sanders, Shane, 2015. "Choosing “Flawed” aggregation rules: The benefit of social choice violations in a league that values competitive balance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 106-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:137:y:2015:i:c:p:106-108
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2015.10.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rodney Fort & James Quirk, 1995. "Cross-subsidization, Incentives, and Outcomes in Professional Team Sports Leagues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1265-1299, September.
    2. Simon Rottenberg, 1956. "The Baseball Players' Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 242-242.
    3. Yang-Ming Chang & Joel Potter & Shane Sanders, 2007. "The Fate Of Disputed Territories: An Economic Analysis," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 183-200.
    4. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
    5. Boudreau, James & Ehrlich, Justin & Sanders, Shane & Winn, Adam, 2014. "Social choice violations in rank sum scoring: A formalization of conditions and corrective probability computations," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 20-29.
    6. Thomas Hammond, 2007. "Rank injustice?: How the scoring method for cross-country running competitions violates major social choice principles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 359-375, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jgames:v:8:y:2017:i:3:p:27-:d:103200 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Diana Cheng & Peter Coughlin, 2017. "Using equations from power indices to analyze figure skating teams," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 231-251, March.
    3. repec:kap:pubcho:v:174:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0494-0 is not listed on IDEAS

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