IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Damaging the perfect image of athletes: How sport promotes envy

  • Jérémy CELSE

We explore the behavioural and affective differences between subjects practicing sport activities and subjects not practicing sport. Are athletes more distressed by unfavourable social comparisons and more prone to engage in hostile behaviour than non-athletes? Using experimental methods, we investigate the connection between sport practice and antisocial behaviour. In our experiment we capture the satisfaction subjects derive from unflattering social comparisons by asking them to evaluate their satisfaction after being informed of their own endowment and after being informed of their opponent’s endowment. Then subjects can decide to reduce their opponent’s endowment by incurring a cost. We observe that sport plays a key role on both individual well-being and behaviour: 1) sport practice amplifies the negative impact of unfavourable social comparisons on individual well-being and 2) sport practice exerts subjects to reduce others’ income. Besides the satisfaction sporty subjects report from social comparisons predicts their decisions to reduce others’ income. Finally we provide empirical evidences suggesting that envy affects significantly athletes’ satisfaction and behaviour.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2011
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 11-16.

in new window

Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision: Jun 2011
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:11-16
Contact details of provider: Postal: Avenue Raymond Dugrand, CS 79606, 34960 Montpellier Cedex 2
Phone: +33-467-158-568
Fax: +33-467-158-467
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ronald Bosman & Frans van Winden, 2002. "Emotional Hazard in a Power-to-take Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 147-169, January.
  2. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2012. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 469-503, February.
  3. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  4. van Dijk, W.W. & van der Pligt, J. & Zeelenberg, M., 1999. "Effort invested in vain : The impact of effort on the intensity of disappointment and regret," Other publications TiSEM 4746cce1-ce4d-4fea-b3c4-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  5. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
  6. Ewing, Bradley T., 1998. "Athletes and work," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 113-117, April.
  7. Zeelenberg, M., 1999. "Anticipated regret, expected feedback and behavioral decision-making," Other publications TiSEM 38371d1b-31fd-45b0-860f-b, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  8. Daniel Miles & Máximo Rossi, 2006. "Learning about one’s relative position and subjective well-being," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0906, Department of Economics - dECON.
  9. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  10. Nicolas Eber, 2006. "Les sportifs sont-ils (vraiment) différents ?. Une approche par l'économie expérimentale," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(3), pages 623-633.
  11. Ben-Shakhar, Gershon & Bornstein, Gary & Hopfensitz, Astrid & van Winden, Frans, 2007. "Reciprocity and emotions in bargaining using physiological and self-report measures," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 314-323, June.
  12. Jérémy Celse, 2010. "Sketching Envy from Philosophy to Psychology," Working Papers 10-22, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised 2010.
  13. Jérémy Celse, 2009. "Will Joe the Plumber envy Bill Gates? The impact of both absolute and relative differences on interdependent preferences," Working Papers 09-26, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2009.
  14. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  15. John M. Barron & Bradley T. Ewing & Glen R. Waddell, 2000. "The Effects Of High School Athletic Participation On Education And Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 409-421, August.
  16. Claudia Senik, 2005. "Income distribution and well-being: what can we learn from subjective data?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 43-63, 02.
  17. Jérémy Celse, 2010. "Envy in Othello. Can effort explain such a tragic issue?," Working Papers 10-23, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised 2010.
  18. Bosman, Ronald & Sutter, Matthias & van Winden, Frans, 2005. "The impact of real effort and emotions in the power-to-take game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 407-429, June.
  19. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
  20. Bradley Ewing, 1995. "High school athletics and the wages of black males," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 65-78, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:11-16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Patricia Modat)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.