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What we can learn about economics from professional sport during Covid-19


  • Alex Bryson
  • Peter Dolton
  • J. James Reade
  • Dominik Schreyer
  • Carl Singleton


The economics of sport and how sport provides insights into economics have experienced exogenous shocks from Covid-19, facilitating many natural experiments. These have provided partial answers to questions of: how airborne viruses may spread in crowds; how crowds respond to the risk and information about infection; how the absence of crowds may affect social pressure and arbitration decisions; and how quickly betting markets respond to new information. We review this evidence and advise how sports economics research could continue to be most valuable to policymakers.

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  • Alex Bryson & Peter Dolton & J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2021. "What we can learn about economics from professional sport during Covid-19," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 525, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:nsr:niesrd:525

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Matthew Olczak & J. James Reade & Matthew Yeo, 2020. "Mass Outdoor Events and the Spread of a Virus: English Football and Covid-19," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-19, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
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    9. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Why are gambling markets organised so differently from financial markets?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 223-246, April.
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    3. Themis Kokolakakis & Fernando Lera-Lopez & Girish Ramchandani, 2021. "Measuring the Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s Leisure and Sport during the 2020 Lockdown," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(24), pages 1-15, December.

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    More about this item


    Sports Economics; Coronavirus; Natural Experiments; Referee Bias; Social Pressure; Prediction Markets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • Z20 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - General


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