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The Many Dimensions of Competitive Balance

  • Allen R. Sanderson

    (The University of Chicago)

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    Discussions of competitive imbalance use Major League Baseball as a focal point, and proposed remedies center on redistributions of revenues from well-heeled owners to financially strapped franchises. However, there are also many additional aspects in sports that do not involve allocations of economic resources directly but nevertheless affect outcomes and balance among competitors. All leagues and associations have to confront the fundamental issue of relative strengths between adversaries. To create some semblance of balance and ensure the integrity of play, they place constraints on the competitive process and respond to technological changes that threaten to disrupt the current environment, including the use of performance-enhancing inputs. Although we extol the virtues of natural athletes and level playing fields with regard to skill development, ensuring evenly matched contests, and comparing performances over time, there are arguably no consistent, objective standards we can employ. Imbalance is an inherent, intractable part of all competitions.

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    File URL: http://jse.sagepub.com/content/3/2/204.abstract
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    Article provided by in its journal Journal of Sports Economics.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 204-228

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:3:y:2002:i:2:p:204-228
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