nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2010‒09‒18
three papers chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
University of Beira Interior and Technical University of Lisbon

  1. Do Gamblers Think That Teams Tank? Evidence from the NBA By Soebbing, Brian; Humphreys, Brad
  2. Dopamine and Risk Preferences in Different Domains By Dreber, Anna; Rand, David G.; Garcia, Justin R.; Wernerfelt, Nils; Lum, J. Koji; Zeckhauser, Richard
  3. The Economic Choice of Participation and Time Spent in Physical Activity and Sport in Canada By Humphreys, Brad; Ruseski, Jane

  1. By: Soebbing, Brian (University of Alberta, Physical Education and Recreation); Humphreys, Brad (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: A growing body of literature indicates that sports teams face incentives to lose games at the end of the season. This incentive arises from league entry draft policy. We use data from betting markets to confirm the existence of tanking, or the perception of tanking, in the NBA. Results from a SUR model of point spreads and point differences in NBA games indicate that betting markets believe that tanking takes place in the NBA, even though the evidence that tanking actually exists is mixed. NBA policy changes also affect betting market outcomes.
    Keywords: incentives; betting markets; tanking
    JEL: D49 L83
    Date: 2010–08–25
  2. By: Dreber, Anna (Institute for Financial Research); Rand, David G. (Harvard University); Garcia, Justin R. (Binghamton University); Wernerfelt, Nils (Toulouse School of Economics); Lum, J. Koji (Binghamton University); Zeckhauser, Richard (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Individuals differ significantly in their willingness to take risks. Such differences may stem, at least in part, from individual biological (genetic) differences. We explore how risk-taking behavior correlates with different versions of the dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4), which has been implicated in previous studies of risk taking. We investigate risk taking in three contexts: economic risk taking as proxied by a financial gamble, self-reported general risk taking, and self-reported behavior in risk-related activities. Our participants are serious tournament bridge players with substantial experience in risk taking. Presumably, this sample is much less varied in its environment than a random sample of the population, making genetic based differences easier to detect. A prior study (Dreber et al. 2010) looked at risk taking by these individuals in their bridge decisions. Here we examine the riskiness of decisions they take in other contexts. We find evidence that individuals with a 7-repeat allele (7R+) of DRD4 take significantly more economic risk in an investment game than individuals without this allele (7R-). Interestingly, this positive relationship is driven by the men in our study, while the women show a negative but non-significant result. Even though the number of 7R+ women in our sample is low, our results may indicate a gender difference in how the 7R+ genotype affects behavior, a possibility that merits further study. Considering other risk measures, we find no difference between 7R+ and 7R- individuals in general risk taking or any of the risk-related activities. Overall, our results indicate that the dopamine system plays an important role in explaining individual differences in economic risk taking in men, but not necessarily in other activities involving risk.
    Keywords: Risk preferences; Dopamine; Risk taking; Risk perception; DRD4
    JEL: C91 C93 D81 D87 G00
    Date: 2010–05–15
  3. By: Humphreys, Brad (University of Alberta, Department of Economics); Ruseski, Jane (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: The health benefits of participation in physical activity are well documented, yet the prevalence of meeting physical activity guidelines remains low. We examine the determinants of participation in physical activity in Canada by estimating double hurdle models of participation and time spent using data from the 2001 Canadian Community Health Survey (CHHS). We find higher income is associated with a higher probability of participating and less time spent in widely practiced sports like running and swimming, but the size of the income effect is relatively small. The hourly wage is generally positive and significant in both the participation and time spent equations suggesting a dominating income effect. Distinguishing between the extensive and intensive margins of the participation decision is important for untangling the effects of income, age, gender and family structure on these choices.
    Keywords: sport participation; physical activity; time allocation; opportunity cost of time
    JEL: I12 I18 J22 L83
    Date: 2010–08–26

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