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

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  • Loek Groot

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Loek Groot, 2012. "An Olympic Level Playing Field? The Contest for Olympic Success as a Public Good," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, vol. 55(2), pages 25-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:eei:journl:v:55:y:2012:i:2:p:25-50
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Olympic Games; public goods; rent-seeking; externalities; Nash noncooperative games.;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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