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An Olympic Level Playing Field? The Contest for Olympic Success as a Public Good

  • Loek Groot

This article considers the performance of countries at the Olympic Games as a public good. Firstly, it is argued that, at the national level, Olympic success meets the two key conditions of a public good: non-rivalry and non-excludability. Secondly, it is demonstrated that standard income inequality measures, such as the Lorenz curve and the Gini index, can successfully be applied to the distribution of Olympic success. The actual distribution of Olympic success is compared with alternative hypothetical distributions, among which the noncooperating Nash-Cournot distribution, the distribution according to population shares and the one favoured by a social planner. By way of conclusion, it is argued, based on the Olympic Charter, that instruments to make the distribution of Olympic success more equitable are warranted to realize the true Olympic spirit as symbolized by the Olympic rings and the Parade of athletes.

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Article provided by Economics and Econometrics Society in its journal Journal of Economics and Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 55 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 25-50

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Handle: RePEc:eei:journl:v:55:y:2012:i:2:p:25-50
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  1. John Manuel Luiz & Riyas Fadal, 2011. "An economic analysis of sports performance in Africa," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(10), pages 869-883, August.
  2. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Bala Ramasamy, 2004. "Olympic Success and ASEAN Countries," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 5(3), pages 262-276, August.
  3. Daniel K. N. Johnson & Ayfer Ali, 2004. "A Tale of Two Seasons: Participation and Medal Counts at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 85(4), pages 974-993.
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