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The Importance of Import Substitution in Marathon Economic Impact Analysis


  • Steven Cobb

    () (Xavier University)

  • Douglas J. Olberding

    () (Xavier University)


Marathon running has experienced considerable growth in recent years, fueled both by an increase in participation rates and by a corresponding increase in the number marathons staged each year. Because marathons have a presumed economic benefit, there also has been growth in the number of marathon-related economic impact studies. However, these studies calculate incorrectly, or omit altogether, an important source of impact: the impact generated when local runners use their home-city marathon as a substitute for participating in an alternative marathon out-of-town. Given that this pattern of behavior is common among marathon runners and the fact that local runners constitute a significant percentage of race participants in most marathons, errors in the treatment of locally based impact is an important problem that must be addressed. This study focuses on the proper way to account for locally sourced impact in marathon analysis, and presents a study of the 2006 Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon to illustrate this methodology.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Cobb & Douglas J. Olberding, 2007. "The Importance of Import Substitution in Marathon Economic Impact Analysis," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 2(2), pages 108-118, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:2:y:2007:i:2:p:108-118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cowen, Tyler & Tabarrok, Alexander, 1995. "Good Grapes and Bad Lobsters: Applying the Alchian and Allen Theorem," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(2), pages 253-256, April.
    2. Bertonazzi, Eric P & Maloney, Michael T & McCormick, Robert E, 1993. "Some Evidence on the Alchian and Allen Theorem: The Third Law of Demand?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 383-393, July.
    3. Borcherding, Thomas E & Silberberg, Eugene, 1978. "Shipping the Good Apples Out: The Alchian and Allen Theorem Reconsidered," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 131-138, February.
    4. Yoram Bauman, 2004. "Shipping the Good Apples Out: A New Perspective," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(3), pages 534-536, July.
    5. Laura Razzolini & William F. Shughart & Robert D. Tollison, 2003. "On the Third Law of Demand," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(2), pages 292-298, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Agha, Nola & Rascher, Daniel, 2013. "When can economic impact be positive? Nine conditions that explain why smaller sports can have bigger impacts," MPRA Paper 48016, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    economic impact analysis; import substitution; marathons;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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