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Gold, Silver, and Bronze: Determining National Success in Men’s and Women’s Summer Olympic Events

Listed author(s):
  • Leeds Eva Marikova


    (Department of Economics and Business, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA 18018, USA)

  • Leeds Michael A.


    (Department of Economics, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA.)

We add to the literature on Olympic performance by explicitly studying the determinants of women’s performance at the Games.We estimate separate models of medal production for men and women over the last four Summer Olympic Games. The production of medals is a function of capital, labor, and total factor productivity (TFP). We use real GDP per capita and population - two variables that appear in almost all Olympic studies - as proxies for capital and labor. Our measure of TFP is a vector of variables that captures a nation’s willingness and ability to marshal its resources to promote Olympic performance and variables that determine its willingness to support its women. Because the dependent variable is a count measure, we estimate the production function using a negative binomial framework. We find that the determinants of success by a nation’s women closely resemble the determinants for its men. We also show that some determinants of gold medal counts differ from the determinants of silver and bronze medals. Our findings suggest that nations can improve the medal performance of men and women by following policies that increase the political and economic participation of women.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik).

Volume (Year): 232 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 279-292

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Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:232:y:2012:i:3:p:279-292
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  1. Jie Wu & Zhixiang Zhou & Liang Liang, 2010. "Measuring the Performance of Nations at Beijing Summer Olympics Using Integer-Valued DEA Model," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 11(5), pages 549-566, October.
  2. Moonjoong Tcha & Vitaly Pershin, 2003. "Reconsidering Performance at the Summer Olympics and Revealed Comparative Advantage," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 4(3), pages 216-239, 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.
  4. 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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