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Gender Differences in Competitive Balance in Intercollegiate Basketball

Author

Listed:
  • Jaret Treber

    () (Department of Economics, Kenyon College)

  • Rachel Levy

    () (Bessemer Trust)

  • Victor Matheson

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract

This paper adds to the literature on competitive balance in college sports by comparing men's and women's NCAA basketball. Using data from the Division I National Championships, we find evidence consistent with the idea that women’s college basketball is less competitively balanced than men’s college basketball. We argue that this difference may be explained by a theory of player ability borrowed from evolutionary biology first promulgated by paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould and subsequently utilized in Berri (2004). An implication of this idea is that competitive balance in women’s NCCA basketball will naturally improve over time. This is good news for those who are concerned with the long term success of the sport to the extent that competitive balance in women’s college basketball impacts fan demand. Nevertheless, we discuss why there may be reason to believe that women’s college basketball may not reach the same level of balance as men’s college basketball.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaret Treber & Rachel Levy & Victor Matheson, 2011. "Gender Differences in Competitive Balance in Intercollegiate Basketball," Working Papers 1106, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1106
    as

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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/HC1106-Matheson-Treber_WomensBasketball.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Allen R. Sanderson & John J. Siegfried, 2003. "Thinking about Competitive Balance," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 4(4), pages 255-279, November.
    2. Daniel Sutter & Stephen Winkler, 2003. "Ncaa Scholarship Limits and Competitive Balance in College Football," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 4(1), pages 3-18, February.
    3. Walter C. Neale, 1964. "The Peculiar Economics of Professional Sports," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-14.
    4. Michael R. Butler, 1995. "Competitive Balance in Major League Baseball," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 39(2), pages 46-52, October.
    5. Andrew S. Zimbalist, 2002. "Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues: An Introduction," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(2), pages 111-121, May.
    6. James Quirk, 2004. "College football conferences and competitive balance," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(2), pages 63-75.
    7. Craig Depken, 1999. "Free-Agency and the Competitiveness of Major League Baseball," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 14(3), pages 205-217, May.
    8. E. Eckard, 1998. "The NCAA Cartel and Competitive Balance in College Football," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 13(3), pages 347-369, June.
    9. Craig A. Depken II & Dennis P. Wilson, 2006. "NCAA Enforcement and Competitive Balance in College Football," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 826-845, April.
    10. repec:mes:jeciss:v:39:y:2005:i:4:p:1029-1041 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Brad R. Humphreys, 2002. "Alternative Measures of Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(2), pages 133-148, May.
    12. Rodney Fort & Joel Maxcy, 2003. "“Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues: An Introductionâ€," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 4(2), pages 154-160, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    College sports; competitive balance; women’s sports; basketball;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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