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The Contest for Olympic Success as a Public Good

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  • Loek Groot

    () (Utrecht University School of Economics)

Abstract

In this study 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. Olympic success is distributed very unevenly, with the rich countries capturing a disproportionately higher share compared to their world population share, which suggests that the Olympic Games do not provide a level playing field. The actual distribution of Olympic success is compared with alternative hypothetical distributions, among which are chosen the distribution according to population shares, the welfare optimal distribution under the assumption of zero government expenditures, and the non-cooperating Nash-Cournot distribution. By way of conclusion, a device is proposed to make the distribution of Olympic success more equitable.

Suggested Citation

  • Loek Groot, 2012. "The Contest for Olympic Success as a Public Good," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 21(1), pages 102-117, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:jid:journl:y:2012:v:21:i:1:p:102-117
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Congleton, Roger D., 1984. "Committees and rent-seeking effort," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 197-209, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Arne Feddersen & Wolfgang Maennig & Philipp Zimmermann, 2007. "How to Win the Olympic Games - The Empirics of Key Success Factors of Olympic Bids," Working Papers 002, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
    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.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Forrest & Adams Ceballos & Ramón Flores & Ian G. McHale & Ismael Sanz & J.D. Tena, 2012. "Explaining and Forecasting National Team Medals Totals at the Summer Olympic Games," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Mega Sporting Events, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Olympic Games; public goods; externalities; Nash equilibrium; social welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • Z - Other Special Topics

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