nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2008‒12‒01
three papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon

  1. The Impact of Athletic Performance on Alumni Giving: An Analysis of Micro Data By Jonathan Meer; Harvey S. Rosen
  2. Contracts as Rent Seeking Devices: Evidence from German Soccer By Feess, Eberhard; Gerfin, Michael; Muehlheusser, Gerd
  3. The Effects of Female Sports Participation On Alcohol Behavior By Elizabeth Wilde

  1. By: Jonathan Meer (Stanford University); Harvey S. Rosen (Princeton University)
    Abstract: An ongoing controversy in the literature on the economics of higher education centers on whether the success of a school’s athletic program affects alumni donations. This paper uses a unique data set to investigate this issue. The data contain detailed information about donations made by alumni of a selective research university as well as a variety of their economic and de-mographic characteristics. One important question is how to characterize the success of an athlet-ic program. We focus not only on the performance of the most visible teams, football and bas-ketball, but also on the success of the team on which he or she played as an undergraduate. One of our key findings is that the impact of athletic success on donations differs for men and women. When a male graduate’s former team wins its conference championship, his dona-tions for general purposes increase by about 7 percent and his donations to the athletic program increase by about the same percentage. Football and basketball records generally have small and statistically insignificant effects; in some specifications, a winning basketball season reduces do-nations. For women there is no statistically discernible effect of a former team’s success on cur-rent giving; as is the case for men, the impacts of football and basketball, while statistically sig-nificant in some specifications, are not important in magnitude. Another novel result is that for males, varsity athletes whose teams were successful when they were undergraduates subsequent-ly make larger donations to the athletic program. For example, if a male alumnus’s team won its conference championship during his senior year, his subsequent giving to the athletic program is about 8 percent a year higher, ceteris paribus.
    Date: 2008–03
  2. By: Feess, Eberhard (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management); Gerfin, Michael (University of Bern); Muehlheusser, Gerd (University of Bielefeld)
    Abstract: Recent theoretical research has identified many ways how contracts can be used as rent seeking devices vis-à-vis third parties, but there is no empirical evidence on this issue so far. To test some basic qualitative properties of this literature, we develop a theoretical and empirical framework in the context of European professional soccer where (incumbent) clubs and players sign binding contracts which are, however, frequently renegotiated when other clubs (entrants) want to hire the player. Because they weaken entrants in renegotiations, long term contracts are useful rent seeking devices for the contracting parties. From a social point of view, however, they lead to allocative distortions in the form of deterring efficient transfers. Since incumbent clubs tend to benefit more from long term contracts in renegotiations than players, these must be compensated ex ante by a higher wage when agreeing to a long term contract. Using data from the German "Bundesliga", our model predictions are broadly confirmed. In particular, our analysis supports the concerns expressed in the theoretical literature about detrimental effects of strategic contracting on allocative inefficiency.
    Keywords: strategic contracting, rent seeking, empirical contract theory, long-term contracts, breach of contract, sports economics
    JEL: L14 J63 L40 L83
    Date: 2008–11
  3. By: Elizabeth Wilde (Columbia University)
    Abstract: Most existing research on the effects of girls’ participation in high school sports focuses on short term outcomes without accounting for selection effects. In this research, I examine the effect of athletic participation in high school on longer term outcomes, using Title IX as a source of exogenous variation in athletic participation. I use the change in girls’ sports participation between cohorts within high schools surveyed by the High School and Beyond Survey to measure the effect of participation in high school sports on women's later alcohol behavior. I find that several years after high school, women in cohorts within high schools exposed to more athletics, drink substantially more alcohol than women within the same high school exposed to less athletics. Relative to the mean alcohol behavior of the sample, these differences are both statistically significant and sizable.
    Keywords: determinants of health, high school athletics, alcohol, Title IX
    JEL: I10 I20 I28
    Date: 2008–05

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