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An economic analysis of sports performance in Africa


  • John Manuel Luiz
  • Riyas Fadal


Purpose - The purpose of this study is to develop insight into the socio-economic determinants of African sports performance. Previous studies have argued that a country's success in sports is directly related to the economic resources that are available for those sports. However, factors that are used to determine the levels of success for developed countries are not necessarily the same, or bear the same weight, as for developing countries. Design/methodology/approach - The premise of this study is to identify specific factors that increase success in sports in developing countries by means of several econometric specifications using cross sectional data for African countries. Findings - This study finds evidence that suggests that Africa's performance in sports is dependent on a range of socio-economic factors, which in some respects confirms worldwide studies. Money does indeed matter: GDP was the overwhelmingly consistent dependent variable in all four models tested. Interestingly, important shades of distinction between the various dependent variables are found. Originality/value - There is a lack of research in the field of sports and organizational economics especially in emerging countries. Previous studies have treated countries as a homogeneous grouping and allowed the broad aggregates to reveal the determinants. This study focuses on a sub-group of countries that are relatively poor, have had a complex past with colonial masters, and that generally have weak administrative structures.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:38:y:2011:i:10:p:869-883

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kuper, Gerard & Sterken, Elmer, 2001. "Olympic participation and performance since 1896," CCSO Working Papers 200104, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
    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. J. K. Ashton & B. Gerrard & R. Hudson, 2003. "Economic impact of national sporting success: evidence from the London stock exchange," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(12), pages 783-785.
    4. Brad R. Humphreys & Jane E. Ruseski, 2009. "Estimates of the Dimensions of the Sports Market in the US," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 4(2), pages 94-113, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Andrew B. Bernard & Meghan R. Busse, 2004. "Who Wins the Olympic Games: Economic Resources and Medal Totals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 413-417, February.
    7. repec:dgr:rugccs:200104 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Bala Ramasamy, 2002. "The Socio-Economic Determinants of International Soccer Performance," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 5, pages 253-272, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Fereidouni, Hassan Gholipour & Foroughi, Behzad & Tajaddini, Reza & Najdi, Youhanna, 2015. "Sport facilities and sporting success in Iran: The Resource Curse Hypothesis," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1005-1018.
    3. Pravin K. Trivedi & David M. Zimmer, 2014. "Success at the Summer Olympics: How Much Do Economic Factors Explain?," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(4), pages 1-34, December.

    More about this item


    Sports performance; Economic determinants; Financial analysis; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General


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