nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2014‒11‒22
three papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. What Goes into a Medal: Women's Inclusion and Success at the Olympic Games By Marcus Noland; Kevin Stahler
  2. An Econometric Analysis of the 2013 Major League Baseball Season By Fullerton, Steven L.; Fullerton, Thomas M., Jr.; Walke, Adam G.
  3. Minimax on the gridiron: Serial correlation and its effects on outcomes in the National Football League By Emara, Noha; Owens, David; Smith, John; Wilmer, Lisa

  1. By: Marcus Noland (Peterson Institute for International Economics); Kevin Stahler (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
    Abstract: This paper examines determinants of women's participation and performance in the Olympics. Female inclusion and success are not merely functions of size, wealth, and host advantage, but a more complex process involving the socioeconomic status of women and, more weakly, broad societal attitudes on gender issues. Female labor force participation and educational attainment in particular are tightly correlated with both participation and outcomes, even controlling for per capita income. Female educational attainment is strongly correlated with both the breadth of participation across sporting events and success in those events. Host countries and socialist states also are associated with unusually high levels of participation and medaling by female athletes. Medal performance is affected by large-scale boycotts. Opening competition to professionals may have leveled the playing field for poorer countries. But the historical record for women's medal achievement is utterly distorted by the doping program in the former East Germany, which specifically targeted women. At its peak in the 1970s and 1980s, the program was responsible for 17 percent of the medals awarded to women, equivalent to the medal hauls of the Soviet or American team in 1972, the last Olympics not marred by widespread abuse of performance-enhancing drugs.
    Keywords: women, gender, sports, Olympics
    JEL: J16 L83 F53 Z13
    Date: 2014–10
  2. By: Fullerton, Steven L.; Fullerton, Thomas M., Jr.; Walke, Adam G.
    Abstract: An econometric analysis of 2013 Major League Baseball season is conducted with respect to regular season victories. Results obtained confirm many, but not all, results reported in prior research. The importance of solid team pitching, defense, and offense is underscored. Outcomes for salaries and league affiliations differ substantially from prior seasons. History may serve as a guide to what occurs on the field, but it does not always repeat in the manner indicated in bygone years. Ultimately, 2013 represents a departure from the standard baseball norm.
    Keywords: Major League Baseball; Team Performance
    JEL: L20 M21
    Date: 2014–02–11
  3. By: Emara, Noha; Owens, David; Smith, John; Wilmer, Lisa
    Abstract: We examine whether the predictions of minimax in zero-sum games holds under highly incentivized conditions with highly informed informed decision makers. We examine data from 3455 National Football League (NFL) games from the 2000 season through the 2012 season. We categorize every relevant play as either a rush or a pass. We find that, despite the predictions of minimax, the pass-rush mix exhibits negative serial correlation. In other words, given the conditions of the play, teams employ an exploitable strategy in that play types alternate more frequently than implied by an independent stochastic process. We also find that the efficacy of plays are affected by previous actions and previous outcomes in a manner that is not consistent with minimax. Our analysis suggests that teams could profit from more clustered play selections, which switch play type less frequently. Our results are consistent with the explanation that teams excessively switch play types in order to not be perceived as predictable.
    Keywords: serial correlation, game theory, mixed strategies, matching pennies
    JEL: C72 C93 D03
    Date: 2014–09–26

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