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Reconsidering Performance at the Summer Olympics and Revealed Comparative Advantage


  • MoonJoong Tcha

    (Department of Economics, The University of Western Australia)

  • Vitaly Pershin

    (Department of Economics, The University of Western Australia)


This paper examines the performance of the participating countries at the Summer Olympic games. It investigates each country's performance and attempts to identify the determinants of this performance in each sport, and also examines other issues related to specialization at these games, using the concept of revealed comparative advantage developed in the field of international economics. Each country's RCA is explained by geographical, biological as well as economic variables of the participating countries. Most previous studies investigated the correlation between total/per capita performance and a wide range of variables, using a range of methods that we consider to be inappropriate. A few studies employed more appropriate censoring methods, however, they did not consider heteroscedasticity or non-normality in their regressions that could make the estimates inconsistent. In addition, RCA and specialization in the Olympic games has never been analyzed. Our analyses present the determinants of each country's specialization in sports and the patterns of RCA, which are susbstantially different from those obtained when analyzing total and per capita performance. We also found that high-income countries specialize less; in other words, they win medals in a more diversified range of sports, which is analogous to a country's patters of specialization in production, a topic frequently explored in international economics.

Suggested Citation

  • MoonJoong Tcha & Vitaly Pershin, 2002. "Reconsidering Performance at the Summer Olympics and Revealed Comparative Advantage," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 02-09, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:02-09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    2. Ballance, Robert H & Forstner, Helmut & Murray, Tracy, 1987. "Consistency Tests of Alternative Measures of Comparative Advantage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 157-161, February.
    3. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1973. "Regression Analysis when the Dependent Variable is Truncated Normal," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(6), pages 997-1016, November.
    4. Hurd, Michael, 1979. "Estimation in truncated samples when there is heteroscedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2-3), pages 247-258.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Who will win the Olympics?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-08-08 12:05:00

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