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The Relationship Between Big-Time College Football and State Appropriations to Higher Education

  • Brad R. Humphreys



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    I investigate the relationship between big-time college football programs and state appropriations to public institutions of higher education. Estimation of a linear reduced form model of the determination of state appropriations to higher education, using a panel of financial, athletic, and state-specific economic data from 570 public institutions of higher education at the Baccalaureate level or higher from 1976-1996 shows that schools with Division I-A football programs receive about 6% more in state appropriations than schools that do not field a Division I-A football team. Institutions with successful football teams receive 3% to 8% increases in state appropriations the following year. Defeating an in-state rival in a prominent football game is also associated with an increased level of appropriation in the following year. These results support the predictions of the model of competition for political influence among pressure groups developed by Becker (1983) and suggest that the total economic benefit associated with big-time athletic programs may be larger than previously thought.

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    Paper provided by UMBC Department of Economics in its series UMBC Economics Department Working Papers with number 03-102.

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    Length: 12 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:umb:econwp:03102
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    1. Creedy, John & Francois, Patrick, 1993. "Financing Higher Education: A General Equilibrium Public Choice Approach," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 69(204), pages 1-9, March.
    2. Brad R. Humphreys, 2000. "Do Business Cycles Affect State Appropriations to Higher Education?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 398-413, July.
    3. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
    4. Creedy, John & Francois, Patrick, 1990. "Financing higher education and majority voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 181-200, November.
    5. Hoenack, Stephen A. & Pierro, Daniel J., 1990. "An econometric model of a public university's income and enrollments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 403-423, December.
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