nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2020‒06‒08
four papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. Outcomes with asymmetric payoffs: The case of the Soviet Football League By J. James Reade
  2. It's Just Not Cricket: The Uncontested Toss and the Gentleman's Game By Sarah Jewell; J. James Reade; Carl Singleton
  3. Fußballspiele, Polizeieinsätze und Steuerzahler: Ökonomische Anmerkungen zur Polizeikosten-Debatte By Mause, Karsten
  4. Risk attitude and air pollution: Evidence from chess* By Joris Klingen; Jos van Ommeren

  1. By: J. James Reade (Department of Economics, University of Reading)
    Abstract: Economists are interested in outcomes - the results of decisions made regarding scarce resources by agents acting within environments that they must take as given. Sport, and football in particular, offers insight into a wide range of measurable outcomes, and provides vast amounts of data on the decision making that surrounded such outcomes. Usually in the context of individual footballing contexts, the immediate rewards are symmetric in that they apply equally to each team: a team that wins will progress in a competition, or in a league structure will gain three points, and a single point if the match is drawn. Despite this, there have been variations over the years in terms of the rewards on offer, usually as an attempt to encourage more exciting play, to discourage attempts at cheating, and thus to attract more spectator demand. Indeed, it is only since the 1980s that three points for a win became commonplace across football, and before that a range of different incentive systems have been experimented with. In France in the 1970s, bonus points were offered for teams scoring three or more goals. In other sports, bonus points are regularly awarded for attacking play. In this paper we investigate a particular experiment in Soviet football in the late 1970s and 1980s. In response to an increasing number of drawn outcomes, and concerns regarding corruption, a draw limit was introduced. Teams that had already drawn a particular number of matches in a given season would not gain a point for drawing any further matches. This led to an asymmetry in rewards, in particular if a team that had reached the draw limit faced a team that had not. We investigate whether this system had any impact on match outcomes. We find some evidence that it reduced the number of goals, and that as teams neared and exceeded the draw limit, they draw fewer matches. The experiment was, nonetheless, abandoned in 1988.
    Keywords: Tournamentdesign, contests, sport
    JEL: O1 C20 L83
    Date: 2020–06–01
  2. By: Sarah Jewell (Department of Economics, University of Reading); J. James Reade (Department of Economics, University of Reading); Carl Singleton (Department of Economics, University of Reading)
    Abstract: Cricket offers a wealth of opportunity and potential insights for economists and other researchers. Focusing on the oldest domestic cricket competition, the English County Championship, we discuss issues of demand, home advantage, competitive balance and the importance of winning the pre-match coin toss to determine the playing order. Despite cricket being generally regarded as a sport for traditionalists, the County Championship is remarkable in how often the rule makers have altered its format. We study one recent major change, the replacement of the mandatory pre-match coin toss with an uncontested one, whereby the away team could decide whether to bowl first or face a toss to bat instead. In theory, this ought to have reduced home advantage, made the toss matter more when it was contested, and incentivised teams to prepare better pitches leading to longer matches. We found no evidence of the first or the last of these effects, but matches did become more predictable once the toss was decided. This suggests that the rule makers were right to abandon this experimental change after only four seasons.
    Keywords: Home advantage, First-mover advantage, Decision making under uncertainty, Coin toss, County Championship, Fist-class cricket
    JEL: D81 L83 Z22
    Date: 2020–05–18
  3. By: Mause, Karsten
    Abstract: This paper examines the question of whether it is justified from an economic perspective that in Germany the general taxpayer has to finance the costs of police operations on match days of the professional football leagues. Although this question has been the subject of an ongoing discussion in politics and the public as well as in the legal literature, this issue has been relatively rarely analyzed in the economic literature. The presented economic analysis, in which the main arguments of the defenders of a socialization of police costs (esp., football clubs and their associations) are scrutinized, comes to the conclusion that under certain conditions the event organizers have to contribute to the police costs; so far, in Germany this is only the case for so-called "high-risk games" in the federal state of Bremen.
    Keywords: Football; Soccer; Externalities; Police Costs; Taxes; Police Fees.
    JEL: D61 D62 H1 H23 L83
    Date: 2020–05
  4. By: Joris Klingen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); Jos van Ommeren (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Medical research suggests that particulate matter (PM) increases stress hormones, therefore increasing the feeling of stress, which has been hypothesised to induce individuals to take less risk. To examine this, we study whether PM increases the probability of drawing in chess games using information from the Dutch club competition. We provide evidence of a reasonably strong effect: A 10μg increase in PM10 (33.6% of mean concentration) leads to a 5.8% increase in draws. Our results demonstrate that air pollution causes individuals to take less risk.
    Keywords: air pollution, particulate matter, cognitive ability, risk taking
    JEL: Q53 D81 I18
    Date: 2020–05–24

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