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Les Determinants Economiques de la Performance Olympique


  • Madeleine Andreff

    () (University Marne-la-Vallée)

  • Wladimir Andreff

    () (University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

  • Sandrine Poupaux

    () (Deutsche Sporthochschule, Cologne)


The analysis of economic determinants of Olympic performance was for a long time a macroeconomics of the cold war in which the number of medals won by a nation was explained by its endowment with economic and human resources, then its political regime and a host country effect. We adopt a post-cold war view of the Games which provides an additional explanation closer to the Olympic ideals since it takes into account individual athlete performances, culture, and sporting disciplines. Various econometric estimations that translate this renewed view are achieved under the constraint of limited available data, over 1976-2004. In a first specification inspired from the macroeconomic approach by Bernard and Busse (2004), with a more detailed country classification, GDP per capita, population, the political regime and the host country effect determine the number of medals won. A second specification adds a variable that captures cultural differences across various regions in the world, which improves the previous estimation. A third estimation relies on a new individual data base, introduces an economic classification of sports as a dependent variables and enables estimating, for an athlete from a given country, his/her chances of participating to an Olympic final and of winning a medal. Finally, regarding the prediction of the would-be medal wins in Peking 2008, an inertial variable is introduced in the macroeconomic model in order to capture an ‘Olympic worship’ in those nations which are used to win a number of medals, a variable that differentiates them from other participating nations. Another prevision is based on individual data without any inertia.

Suggested Citation

  • Madeleine Andreff & Wladimir Andreff & Sandrine Poupaux, 2008. "Les Determinants Economiques de la Performance Olympique," Working Papers 0819, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:spe:wpaper:0819

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jiang, Minghua & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2005. "Medals in transition: explaining medal performance and inequality of Chinese provinces," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 158-172, March.
    2. Pfau, Wade Donald, 2006. "Predicting the Medal Wins by Country at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games: An Econometrics Approach," MPRA Paper 18829, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Daniel K. N. Johnson & Ayfer Ali, 2004. "A Tale of Two Seasons: Participation and Medal Counts at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 85(4), pages 974-993.
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    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models

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