IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Revealed Comparative Advantage and Specialization in Athletics


  • Cindy Du Bois

    () (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

  • Bruno Heyndels

    () (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)


Using entries in the 2005 IAAF rankings as a measure of a country’s success in athletics, we analyse intercountry differences in athletic specialisation (measured through an index for revealed symmetric comparative advantage). A Tobit II model identifies macro-economic, sociological and political conditions that shape patterns of specialisation. We observe geographical patterns: African and Carribean (and to a lesser extent Asian) countries have a ‘typical’ pattern of specialisation. Highly populated as well as richer countries diversify more. Larger countries specialise in sprinting and middle distance running while leading to comparative disadvantages in non-running events. Finally, (former) socialist countries have a significant revealed comparative advantage in non-running events and a disadvantage in sprinting.

Suggested Citation

  • Cindy Du Bois & Bruno Heyndels, 2007. "Revealed Comparative Advantage and Specialization in Athletics," Working Papers 0717, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:spe:wpaper:0717

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Paper presented at the 2007 IASE Conference in Dayton, Ohio
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    athletics; revealed comparative advantage; specialisation;

    JEL classification:

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


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spe:wpaper:0717. 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: (Victor Matheson). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.