nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2008‒02‒09
four papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of the Beira Interior

  1. Venturing Beyond the Marathon: The Entrepreneurship of Ultrarunning and the IAU World Cup in Korea By Siri Terjesen
  2. Economics and Olympics: An Efficiency Analysis By Alexander Rathke; Ulrich Woitek
  3. The evolution of cheating in asymmetric contests By Aleksander Berentsen; Esther Bruegger; Simon Loertscher
  4. Tournament Incentives and Contestant Heterogeneity: Empirical Evidence from the Organizational Practice By Uschi Backes-Gellner; Kerstin Pull

  1. By: Siri Terjesen (Queensland University of Technology and Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)
    Abstract: This article describes the entrepreneurial development and professionalism of ultradistance running (ultrarunning) in South Korea, culminating with the hosting of the IAU World Cup 100K in 2006. This case study-based research provides evidence of various macro-environmental and individual drivers of a grassroots entrepreneurial process, contextualised in Korea's sporting culture. Macro-environmental factors include the economic crisis and Korean cultural values of comradery, emotional expressiveness and entrepreneurial spirit. At the individual level, self-leadership, focus, persistence, team dynamics and access to resources explain the growth of ultrarunning and the commitment to hosting the IAU World Cup. Implications for sports entrepreneurship and grassroots-initiated mega-sporting events in Asia are discussed.
    Keywords: Athletics, Entrepreneurship, Korea, Mega-Sporting Event, Self-Leadership, Ultramarathon, Ultrarunning
    JEL: L26 M13 N85 N95
    Date: 2008–01–30
  2. By: Alexander Rathke; Ulrich Woitek
    Abstract: Applying stochastic frontier analysis, we estimate the importance of sports in society as technical efficiency of countries in the production of Olympic success since the 1950s. Our measures of success are medal shares and a broader concept including Olympic diplomas. Following Bernard and Busse (2004), population and GDP are used as inputs. While the impact of GDP is always positive, we show that the sign of the population effect depends on wealth and population size of a country. The results show that the spread of importance is very wide over time, across countries, gender, and sports. These differences can be seen as caused by differences in financial support, training methods, organization, or culture. Using the method proposed by Battese and Coelli (1995), we confirm the result well documented in the literature that planned economies and host countries are more successful than others in terms of Olympic success (e.g. Bernard and Busse, 2004). The method allows to shed light on important aspects of recent sport history, such as the consequences of the breakdown of the former Soviet Union.
    Keywords: Olympic Games, Efficiency Analysis, Stochastic Frontier
    JEL: J8 O47
    Date: 2007–01
  3. By: Aleksander Berentsen; Esther Bruegger; Simon Loertscher
    Abstract: Consider a society where all agents initially play "fair" and one agent invents a "cheating" strategy such as doping in sports. Which factors determine the success of the new cheating strategy? In order to study this question we consider an evolutionary game with local information. Three factors determine the imitation dynamics of the model: the location and the type of the innovator, the distribution of types, and the information available to the agents. In particular we find that the economy is more likely to end up in a state where all agents cheat if the innovator is of low type or when the agents are maximally segregated.
    Keywords: Evolutionary game theory, imitation dynamics, heterogeneity, local information, global interaction
    JEL: C70 C79 D83
    Date: 2007–02
  4. By: Uschi Backes-Gellner (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich); Kerstin Pull (Eberhard Karls Universitaet Tuebingen)
    Abstract: Whereas the theoretical literature on organizational reward systems repeatedly points to the importance of tournament models from an efficiency perspective, very few is known about the application and effectiveness of tournament compensation in organizations, especially when contestant heterogeneity is taken into account. While the distorting effects of contestant heterogeneity on tournament incentives have been theoretically analyzed for the two-contestant-case, tournament incentives in a typical organizational context with more than two contestants and with more than one prize, have not been studied so far. In our paper, we analyze these effects theoretically as well as empirically by studying incentive travel sales contests as a quantitatively important component of compensation, and we also present first empirical evidence on (successful and unsuccessful) organizational attempts to reduce contestant heterogeneity by active handicapping and league-building.
    Keywords: Further training; Investing in human capital; Costs-benefit ratio
    JEL: M5 M12 M53
    Date: 2007–02

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